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From Slavery to Dignity: How critical thinking and empowerment among Dalit women working with manual scavenging is implemented
Södertörn University, School of Communication, Media and it.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This bachelor thesis is a result of a 9 week Minor Field Study that was performed in Madhya Pradesh, India in spring 2012. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the Garima Abhiyan (Campaign for dignity) rhetorically implements critical thinking and empowerment among Dalit women working with manual scavenging. Removal of human excrement is a Dalit tradition bound practices were 98% of the manual scavengers are women. Manual scavenging has its roots in the Indian caste system and is primarily a Socio-Political issue. This inhuman practice was banned in India in 1993 but is still occurring and denies a life with dignity.

Through field observations and qualitative interviews I wanted to listen to how the activists at ActionAid and Jan Sahas explain how the women’s liberation process work and what rhetorical strategies are used to promote empowerment and critical thinking.

Numerous rhetorical strategies such as repetition, symbolic gestures, improvisation, provocation and antithesis were used to implement messages and to stimulate critical thinking and empowerment. The main conclusions of this study are that the Garima Abhiyan is working on different levels to promote critical thinking and empowerment. There are several different actors involved in the liberation process: the activists from ActionAid and Jan Sahas, the children of the Dalits and the Dalit women themselves. In the liberation process, the activists focus on logos argumentation and the children stands for pathos argumentation when they are persuading and motivating the women to quit manual scavenging, and the women themselves use their own strong ethos to convince other women to quit the practice. Garima Abhiyan creates empowerment groups and educates Dalit women in becoming influential rhetors and thus a path into citizenship, which is an opportunity to take and be a part of society. As the women are strengthened through the Garima Abhiyan, several power relations between men and women are changed. These Dalit women who have never been allowed to be located in these villages or to take part in public space are suddenly given power. In the empowerment groups ideas are transformed into action and critical thinking has a chance to germinate and grow. By raising the awareness of these women they are also given opportunities to understand how they can influence their situation and be a part of the solution. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 53 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-16983OAI: diva2:547638
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-28 Last updated: 2012-08-30Bibliographically approved

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