Ashwini Falnikar

Ashwini Falnikar

Participant in 2015
Work history Subeditor at Tinkle comics, established in India since 1980 (2010-2012)

Freelance video editor for video blogging project funded by McArthur fountain in the year 2010 (2010)

Program Associate, Tsunami Rehabilitation project under the MoU between Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Government of India
Study history PhD, National University of Singapore (2014 onwards)

M.Phil and M.A. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Indian (MA: 2007-2009, M.Phil: 2012-2014)

Bachelor of Mass Media, University of Mumbai (2004-2007)
Publications To be published: 'Blogging as Empowerment: Women video bloggers in India' - book chapter in Embodiment of Resistance, coordinated by Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London

To be published: 'Women Bloggers in the Indian blogosphere: An exploration of alternative discourses and identity formation;, in SubVersions, annual online journal of School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Phd Projects

2015

Understanding Gender in Neoliberal Development Context through Oppositional Ethnography

The main aim of this study is to find points to talk back to or negotiate the structures instituted by neoliberal agricultural policies in the context of India. The Vidarbha region in Eastern Maharashtra in India has seen massive agrarian crisis in the last decade owing to new mode of agriculture due to adoption of genetically modified crops. Disenfranchised by the rising costs of agriculture, indebtedness, and decline in public investment, the farmer faces utter lack of agency, except in committing suicide in order to be heard. Yet, suicides are only symptomatic of the said crisis, often attributed to familial stress, dent in social status, conflict in family, and crop failure. in the light of new macroeconomic policies of agricultural trade liberalisation, lack of safety nets and restructuring programs for farmers have been associated with the present crisis (e.g. Patnaik, 1999), and do not feature in the public discourse on the present agrarian crisis. This study focuses on understanding the agricultural practices of women in the farming households, and listening to them; as a way of reversing the narrative of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ as spelt by adoption of new biotechnological invention, and also as a way of creating a space for them to be heard within the structural constraints that erase their agency. In this way, this study also seeks to enact an oppositional politics by creating narratives that counter and negotiate the neoliberal policies. Ethnographic study that holds the interaction between culture, structure, and agency as central to it will be used as a methodology for this study. This methodology is known as Culture-Centered Approach (Dutta, 2011). Through this methodology, this study will seek to draw insights for understanding gender in the neoliberal policy structure, in the context of a developing country, among subaltern populations. The change from colonial feudal system of peasantry to neoliberal agricultural system calls for a framework for understanding gender newly. Postcolonial and subaltern studies have previously offered the frameworks to understand gender in marginalised contexts. This project has its roots in that scholarship but seeks to offer new way of thinking about, understanding, and doing gender in development related work in neoliberal systems; in other words, it seeks to suggest a way of doing oppositional gender-based politics in development-related work, so that such work serves the special needs of gendered subaltern subjects.

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