Development and displacement: women's experiences of flight and settlement
The process of decolonisation and the reconstruction of nation states in much of the developing world have resulted in mass dislocation and displacement. However, the goals of national development in post-colonial states are often at odds with the rights of minority groups. While refugees threaten to subvert the very basis upon which nation states base their legitimacy, internally displaced persons are symptomatic of ruptures within an ostensibly unified state. This paper explores the gendered nature of forced migrations in Eastern India. Drawing on specific case studies of poverty induced internally displaced women in the state of West Bengal and refugee women from Bangladesh I focus on how women and their families cope as forced migrants and how women themselves assess their situation. By interrogating the complex relationship between gender and displacement, marked by unequal economic and cultural domination, I analyse the efficacy of post-colonial states to ensure the rights of their citizens.
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