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Countering transphobic stigma: Identity work by self-employed Keralan transpeople


Narendran, R and Reveley, J and Almeida, S, Countering transphobic stigma: Identity work by self-employed Keralan transpeople, Gender, Work and Organization ISSN 0968-6673 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/gwao.12670


Transpeople in India forge identities at the confluence of contradictory social forces. Interviews conducted in the state of Kerala suggest that the experience of transphobic stigma results in self‐employed transpeople being abjectified. Social abjectification, in turn, triggers their identity work within liminal social spaces located between the everyday lifeworld and postcolonial legal institutions. Through this work, the participants in this study navigated the contradictions between two identity‐constituting external structures: culture and law. Culture is a source of identity threat but it also supplies a socially legitimated identity template – the hijra – used in the vital self‐formative work of mirroring and witnessing. Similarly, trans‐supportive social policies and laws provide institutional scaffolding for identities. Yet, despite the agential nature of the participants’ identity work, the inherent limitations of the law and the vulnerability of embodiment renders them susceptible to the ongoing threat posed by transphobia emanating from ambient cultural norms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:abjectification, transphobia, India, identity work, liminality, stigma, transpeople
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Gender studies
Research Field:Feminist and queer theory
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Gender and sexualities
UTAS Author:Narendran, R (Dr Roshni Narendran)
ID Code:143379
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2021-03-14
Last Modified:2021-11-15

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