Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

Research has been one of the strongest areas of the ACWS. The faculty of the Centre have undertaken several research projects and commissioned assignments for national and international funding agencies on various issues. Research themes that are currently being focussed on include -

  • Labour and Migration
  • Caste and Sexuality
  • Gender-based Violence
  • Feminist Methodologies and Ethics
  • Feminist Science and Technology Studies
  • Feminist Approaches to Health
  • Feminist Disability Studies
  • Women and Law -Child Rights
  • Violence Against Women
  • Caste, Class, Gender

Research Projects

1.‘Learning from Gender Transformative Programmes: Assessing UNICEF’s Interventions in Osmanabad’

Project Lead: Dr.Sujatha Devarapalli

Other supporting team Members: Dr.Bindhulakshmi P., Prof. Nandini Manjrekar and Dr.Sangita Thosar

Sponsor: UNICEF

Status - Completed

'Learning from Gender Transformative Programmes: Assessing UNICEF's Interventions in Osmanabad' provides insights into the learnings from the UNICEF- supported gender-sensitisation interventions in school communities of Osmanabad, Maharashtra. It assesses the transformations in knowledge and gender perceptions of the school community participating in the initiatives under the Gender Transformative Programme (GTP). In particular, it understands how gender is understood and experienced by school-going children and youth, as well as other stakeholders of school- learning communities like teachers, school leadership and parents. It engages with how GTP interventions are received and influence such formulations of gender. The study is envisaged in resonance with SDG 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, and SDG 5 to achieve gender equality and empower allwomen and girls. It recognises the significance of schools as sites of socialisation, negotiation and interrogation of questions of identity and social structures for children. It stresses the potential of formal education systems, including teachers, parents and others contributing to the learning environments, to inform these processes towards equality, opportunity and justice.

Report CopyPhoto

2. Worker-driven Initiatives to Tackle ‘modern slavery’ in India’

Sponsor: Research England through their Global Challenges Research Fund Pump Priming

The Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, TISS and Wilberforce Institute at University of Hull,  UK.This pilot research is funded by Research England through their Global Challenges Research Fund Pump Priming. This socio-historical pilot study aims to map worker-driven initiatives which have emerged in India in the last three decades to tackle so-called modern forms of slavery. The diversity of socio-historical contexts and economic conditions in India that this research encompasses provides a unique opportunity to understand the challenges, constraints and promises of these initiatives. This pilot study is only a first step towards a more comprehensive and in-depth research programme exploring the relevance and limitations of worker organising in contexts of the Global South integrated (or not) into global production networks and affected by labour chains characterised by precarity and/or stigma.

Broadly, the project explores the following:

  1. How can we re-conceptualise the range of practices some now call ‘modern forms of slavery’ in the context of India?
  2. In this context, who are the workers? Which sectors are they concentrated in? How are their lived conditions characterised?
  3. How do workers in exploitation organise? When, where and how do these initiatives emerge? Who drives them? What format do they take?
  4. How are these forms of collective organisation related to long-existing social movements against gender, caste and other structural inequalities?
  5. How different are these forms of collective organisation from traditional trade union organising?
  6. How sustainable are these initiatives?
  7. What constraints have they faced and how were these overcome?
  8. What has been their impact?
  9. At what level has this impact been felt?

Project leaders: Dr. Bindhulakshmi P and Prof. Meena Gopal (Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, TISS)

Dr. Lorena Arocha (Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull)

3. An Exploratory Study of Discriminations Based on Non-Normative Genders and Sexualities

Principal Investigator - Asha Achuthan

Sponsor: Ford Foundation

Status - Completed

This research study, conducted over 2 years across various cities in India, generated an understanding of discrimination in the areas of health, education, shelter and housing, public infrastructure and utilities, and political formations, and involved researchers from across the country. Discrimination here is understood not just as incidents or moments of certain kinds of conduct or behavior, but also as the contexts and structural conditions that enable or institutionalize such conduct, or the terms of inclusion into various systems that keep out various persons and are experienced as discrimination.

Report  Available

4. Women Writing Across Contexts: Cognitive and  Linguistic Universes S

Status - Completed

This project was an attempt to put together contemporary women's writing in some Indian languages with the aim of exploring the linguistic-cognitive universes that these writings might represent or constitute. The material includes short stories, poems, excerpts from books, and autobiographical accounts of women published in magazines. The larger context of this work was to build an archive of women's writing across regional contexts, looking for commonalities of perspective; exploring cognitive universes that challenge the conventional canons of writing and women's writing, and seeing how these relate specifically to the notion of the 'local'; charting the shifts in women's writing post-globalisation; translation of material for curricula; and using multi-lingual material to address pedagogic challenges in a diverse classroom. This project was a collaborative effort between faculty and students at the Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, TISS. The work of this project is imagined as a starting point for an archive of women's writing in multiple languages that could be translated, organized into themes, and prepared for publication as a reader for the postgraduate women's studies programme.

Report Available

5. Early Child Marriage Initiative: A Monitoring and Evaluation Project

Sponsor: American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Status - Completed

The Advanced Centre for Women's Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), entered into a partnership in October 2014 with American Jewish World Service (AJWS) who support the project, to undertake this research on monitoring and evaluation of their Early/ Child Marriage (ECM) Initiative in India. The research is conducted in a participatory mode with grassroots organisations supported by AJWS as part of their ECM Initiative in India. Our research brings in a feminist perspective and methodology needed to address a complex phenomenon such as early and child marriage. The intention is not just monitoring and evaluation of efforts related to ECM in the conventional sense, but evolving a framework to understand and document change. The participatory mode of research elicits organisational strategies that dovetail new modes of planning and assessing change around ECM into their ongoing work. This will lead to shifts that understand change beyond result oriented impact of their work. This is achieved in the research study through revisiting and reframing the ‘monitoring and evaluation question’ through a feminist lens.

Early Child Marriage Initiative: A Monitoring and Evaluation Project - Outcomes/Publications 

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