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Mukta Sharangpani
Graduate Dissertation Fellow 2006-07, Cultural and Social Anthropology

Mukta Sharangpani has been involved with women's rights work for over fifteen years, as an artist, an activist, and an academic. Drawing from interviews, participant observation, and life histories, her dissertation examine people's perceptions of violence and the way they map their own intimate experiences upon such perceptions. The primary question she asks is: What might be at stake for middle class men and women in Mumbai, India in recognizing and naming their own violent family experiences as domestic abuse? By shifting the study of domestic violence from the discourse of rights and re-framing it within discourses of power, Sharangpani calls for a re-conceptualization of violence and argues that marital violence and class intersect in very crucial ways and that class membership affects the way that violence is named and framed. Abusive behavior is learned behavior and children who witness abuse often become abusive themselves. A key motivator for this project is to understand systemic and cultural causes of violence in order to develop strategic preventive models rather than those that focus solely on intervention.