Chapman, Jane and Allison, Kate (2011) Women and the press in British India, 1928-34: a window for protest? International Journal of Social Economics, 38 (8). pp. 676-692. ISSN 0306-8293
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03068291111143893
Second prize winner of the Emerald Publishing Best Article of the Year award for 2011.
Purpose: to understand how, in tough economic times, British-owned, English-language newspapers such as The Pioneer received and filtered news, especially gender-related and nationalist-related events and thinking. Design/methodology: using qualitative and quantitative methods to assess communications by and about pro - nationalist women, coverage of female activities was categorised into two groups: firstly educational, social and peaceful campaigns and secondly direct action such as strikes, burning of British cloth and business /land rent boycotts.
Findings: direct action provided ‘bad news’ coverage, but it simultaneously gave a small window for publicity. Less threatening peaceful campaigns provided a bigger window – enhanced by the novelty value of female activism.
Research limitations/implications: Historians need to look specifically at Indian newspapers during the struggle for independence for a counter-hegemonic discourse that reached a wide public. When evidence of women's activism is paired with financial news, it becomes clear that women had a negative impact on British business. Furthermore The Pioneer’ s own business dilemmas made the paper part of the economic and ideological maelstrom that that it reported on.
Originality/value: this is the first time that the colonial press in India itself has been scrutinised in detail on the subject of the rising nationalist movement and women. Findings underline female influence on both economics and ideology – a neglected aspect of Indian gender scholarship and economic history.
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