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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Menstruation, Social Norms, and Men's Perceptions: Study of South Indian Menstrual Taboos
by Healy, Benoit, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2012, 122; 10305815
Abstract (Summary)

Hindu women in rural Tamil Nadu observe a variety of taboos when menstruating. Though the social and religious significance of these taboos has been the subject of several different areas of sociological and anthropological research, the mechanisms of their transmission and enforcement have yet to be examined through the application of social norm theory. Explaining why menstrual taboos can be considered a threat to the psychological and physical well-being of women, this study examines the operation of menstrual taboos as social norms. Exploring the opinions of men, as well as women, on menstruation and menstrual taboos, this aims to determine whether or not men can or should be targeted by a hypothetical grassroots program seeking to reverse or mitigate the negative consequences menstrual taboos carry as social norms. Case study research for this thesis was carried out through the administration of surveys during the author's four-month internship with the Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG) near Irumbai, India. Drawing on trends discovered in men's and women's survey responses, this study confirms that menstrual taboos operate as social norms; furthermore, this thesis asserts that men are both affected by the negative consequences of menstrual taboos, and, to a certain extent, aid in their perpetuation by contributing to some of their perceived benefits. In seeking to assess the possibility of men's inclusion in a grassroots program seeking to address menstrual taboos and their negative effects, the findings of this study demonstrate not only the possibility, but also the need for men to be included in such an effort.

Indexing (document details)
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, South Asian Studies
Keywords: India, Indian, Men, Menstrual, Menstruation, Social, Taboos
Publication Number: 10305815
ISBN: 978-1-369-49379-5
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