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Socialisation Process, Power Relations and Domestic Violence: Marginal Voices of Assamese Women


Domestic violence is an evil that never dies. It is an indicator of inequality, injustice and discrimination of the social system. Though there is no justification for its existence in a civilized society, then why it is so difficult to root it out? Why does it persist to exist even after the prevalence of legal provisions to combat domestic violence? The causes maybe embedded on the facts that it involves intimate relationship on the one hand and exercise of power relations on the other. These power relations put women at disadvantaged positions, which are prominently gendered in nature. Assam, a state in the north-eastern corner of India, is unique in its own distinction. It is a region with myriad communities with varied culture, ethnic and social background. Distinctive statistical differences of domestic violence exist among these communities. These variations may categorically be due to the nature of power relations in intimate relations among these communities, which is probed with the application of oral history method. An effort is made through this study to explore the societal attitudes concerning power within intimate human relations. The focus of this paper is to search for the social beliefs attached with the power relations that have been governing them or promoting them in the form of social values, customs, rituals and traditions, which are the nucleus of domestic violence in Assamese society. This study intends to investigate the power relations amongst the different communities. Oral history method is applied to probe the socialisation process of the victims of domestic violence and to analyse how it creates power relations that caters to domestic violence. It gives a deeper understanding to the gendered nature of power in intimate relations. It illustrates that power relations is created through socialisation process and is a contributing attribute to domestic violence among spouses.


Power, Intimate Relations, Domestic Violence, Marginal Voices, Social Values, Assam


Author Biography

Polly Vauquline

Associate Professor, Department of Women's Studies, Director, Women's Studies Research Centre


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