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Dominant daughters-in-law and submissive mothers-in-law? Cooperation and conflict in South India

By Penny Vera-Sanso

Abstract

The stereotype of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relations in India is that of a dominating mother-in-law and submissive daughter-in-law. However, residents of low-income settlements in Chennai (formerly called Madras) argue that daughters-in-law no longer submit re the demands; and wishes of their mothers-in-law as they do in rural Tamil Nadu, a South Indian state cf which Chennai is the capital. Rather than being culturally determined, relations between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are shaped by shifting physical, social and economic dependencies and expectations of dependence in the future. In many families, social and economic developments are redefining relations between older and younger generations. Where such developments have had, or are expected to have, a deleterious effect on older women's capacity to support themselves or secure the support of their family mothers-in-law are adopting a variety of strategies towards their daughters-in-law, including that of appeasement

Topics: GN
Year: 1999
DOI identifier: 10.2307/2661149
OAI identifier: oai:kar.kent.ac.uk:16709
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