Home Institution

University of Puget Sound

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

India: Sustainable Development and Social Change


The subject of this study is female fisherwomen from the fishing village of Veerampattinam in Tamil Nadu who have experienced impacts of neoliberal economics in India. Neoliberalism is here defined as a political economic movement that determines the viability of both an individual and a government based on its economic productivity. Populations reliant on traditional livelihoods are not as efficient as mechanized sectors of their industry, and therefore they are often separated from easy access to their livelihoods by neoliberal policies. This is especially true for women, who are frequently left behind in neoliberalism because their work is considered less valuable on the basis of their gender. What is the experience of women in the context of neoliberal development, and how do women in Pondicherry fishing villages define political freedom? This object of this study is to explore the experience of fisherwomen, and how that experience has been impacted by neoliberalism. Once identifying their experience, this study seeks to begin to understand the ways in which women’s definition of political freedom contradicts the neoliberal definition. The study finds that neoliberalism has caused shifts in government behavior, individual thought and action, and connection of women to traditional livelihood. However, women believe in collective responsibility, community unity, and empowerment beyond economic empowerment, which pose contradictions to neoliberal theory.


Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Other Economics | Politics and Social Change | Regional Economics | Work, Economy and Organizations


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