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Article

Decolonizing the Gender and Land Rights Debate in India: Considering Religion and More-than-Human Sociality in Women’s Lived Land Relatedness

1
Department of Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University, 6525 XZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2
Master’s Program International Development Studies, Wageningen University & Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Aje Carlbom
Religions 2022, 13(3), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030254
Received: 10 January 2022 / Revised: 16 February 2022 / Accepted: 25 February 2022 / Published: 17 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Nature and Religious Re-enchantment in the Anthropocene)
This article links the feminist debate on women’s land rights in India to the current academic debate on critical human-nature relationships in the Anthropocene by studying how married Hindu women weigh the pros and cons of claiming land in their natal family and how they practice their lived relatedness to land in rural Udaipur (Rajasthan, North India). The article disentangles the complex issue of why women do not respond eagerly to Indian state policies that for a long time have promoted gender equality in the domain of land rights. In reaction to the dominant feminist debate on land rights, the authors introduce religion and more-than-human sociality as analytical foci in the examination of women’s responsiveness to land legislation. Their ethnographic study is based on fieldwork with married women in landowning families in four villages in Udaipur’s countryside. The authors argue that women have well-considered reasons not to claim natal land, and that their intimate relatedness to land as a sentient being, a nonhuman companion, and a powerful goddess explains the women’s reluctance to treat land as an inanimate commodity or property. Looking at religion brings to the fore women’s core business of making land fruitful and powerful, independent of any legislation. The authors maintain that a decolonized perspective on women’s land relatedness that takes religion and women’s multispecies perspective seriously may also offer a breakthrough in understanding why some women do not claim land. View Full-Text
Keywords: land; land rights; gender; religion; kinship; interspecies relatedness; India; ethnography land; land rights; gender; religion; kinship; interspecies relatedness; India; ethnography
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MDPI and ACS Style

Notermans, C.; Swelsen, L. Decolonizing the Gender and Land Rights Debate in India: Considering Religion and More-than-Human Sociality in Women’s Lived Land Relatedness. Religions 2022, 13, 254. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030254

AMA Style

Notermans C, Swelsen L. Decolonizing the Gender and Land Rights Debate in India: Considering Religion and More-than-Human Sociality in Women’s Lived Land Relatedness. Religions. 2022; 13(3):254. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030254

Chicago/Turabian Style

Notermans, Catrien, and Luna Swelsen. 2022. "Decolonizing the Gender and Land Rights Debate in India: Considering Religion and More-than-Human Sociality in Women’s Lived Land Relatedness" Religions 13, no. 3: 254. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030254

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