Diasporic Feminism

Author Name

Shareena Banu C.P.

Author Address

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia, [email protected]


diaspora, feminism, agency, emigration, subaltern, tradition, culture, ethnicity, transnationalism, development.


The study raises certain feminist questions with regard to the intersectionality between diaspora and women. Has emigration really transformed the social status and social wellbeing of diaspora women?  There is dearth of material on the female migrants of Indian origin in diaspora studies. The alienation of women in diaspora is the indirect manifestation of the subalternization of female immigrants. Women in diaspora could not have produced a metanarrative of themselves as they move in different directions of patriarchy. Alongside they speak multitude of languages of feminism. For instance, some immigrants are also inspired to write cookery books. This is as important as the films directed by directors like Mira Nair who is part of Indian diaspora. The predominant notion of Indian diaspora as structured on a male centred perspective is challenged by women in many ways. However women continue to represent the permanency of culture, which is again a patriarchal conception of women.

Three forms of agencies of women are main in the diaspora studies. They are unstructured agency, semi structured agency and fully structured agency. ‘Unstructured agency’ is a completely free and cosmopolitan diaspora women who is neither influenced by the culture of homeland and nor completely carried away by the host culture. As a ‘Semi-Structured agency’ she negotiates between modern and traditional values and reproduces the existing heterosexual discourses.  ‘Fully structured agency,’are those type of women who are completely socialized into Indian culture. 


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