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ENACTING EMPOWERMENT IN PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SPACES: THE ROLE OF "TARU" IN FACILITATING SOCIAL CHANGE AMONG YOUNG VILLAGE WOMEN IN INDIA

by Pant, Saumya

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the impact of an entertainment-education radio soap opera, Taru, on young women in village Abirpur of India’s Bihar State, who organize for social change in the public spaces dominated by men and the private spaces within their households. To understand the enactment of empowerment, I argue that these spaces are discursively created, maintained, and propagated by the young women of Abirpur. I use qualitative methods of inquiry and privilege feminist ethnography to record the stories of the young women of Abirpur. The young women use public spaces to share their stories and reshape their realities through discursive practices. They organize into groups like the Taru Drama Club to share their experiences with other men and women. While organizing in these groups, they create discursive spaces where they have an opportunity to exchange their views on important social topics. It also opens up space for boys and girls to dialogue with one another. This unique discursive space created by Taru leads to certain transformative practices by promoting interaction between different groups with differing ideologies. This study also investigates the role of a participatory theater workshop in empowering the young women in Abirpur to improve their status in the community. It explores the workshop as a critical site for change where the public and the private sphere collide. In a society where girls do not leave their village until they get married, the theater workshop encouraged the girls to travel to a near-by village to interact with boys and girls of other villages. This was transformatory for the young girls of Abirpur. These girls performed in front of the village community and thereby shared their private stories in a public forum. The entertainment-education strategy allows listeners to participate in the construction and consumption of educational messages over a period of time. This ensures the engagement and interaction of the listener with the media message furthering the process of social change.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:mass communication research entertainment education strategy for change development gender and feminist fieldwork habermas public private sphere taru india

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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