Women and Work: Towards an Alternative Approach

  • Zakir HusainEmail author
  • Mousumi Dutta
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Sociology book series (BRIEFSSOCY)


This chapter argues that the pessimistic conclusions of the Marxist school of writers were leading feminism towards a dead end. It identifies the shortcomings of the Marxist feminist writers, and reviews the newly emerging body of feminist work, which explores how marginalised women adopt means and strategies of resistance—starting from demonic possession and mass hysteria to militant unionism—to cope with the pressures of patriarchy and carve out some space to exercise their agency. This chapter integrates this literature along with the work of economist Herbert Simon and of sociologist Cynthia Hakim to establish the framework of this study. We argue that women test the limits that a patriarchal society sets to their agency through continual negotiation and bargaining, attempting to attain a more or less satisfactory balance between multiple conflicting goals (satisficing), rather than maximising. This evolutionary process often enables women to improve their agency in a phased manner.


Satisficing Negotiation Resistance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsPresidency UniversityKolkataIndia

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