Journal article / Migration to the Gulf: No End in Sight

Mufsin, Puthan Purayil, and Puthan Purayil Muhsin. ‘Return Migration amidst a Pandemic: Reflections on Kerala’s Gulf Migration’. Journal of Migration Affairs III, no. 1 (September 2020): 99–107.

Abstract (crafted): In 2020, almost 25% of Malayali expatriates in the Gulf countries expressed the desire to return to Kerala. In media discussions regarding the impact of Covid-19 on Kerala’s Gulf expatriates, this led many to predict the end of Kerala’s Gulf dream.

But a careful reading of Kerala’s migration story reveals a different reality. Using secondary data and observations from an ongoing ethnographic study of the Mappila Gulf migrants in Kerala’s northern migration belt, we argue that the long-standing circular movement between Kerala and the Persian Gulf states is not over.

More info and full text: https://doi.org/10.36931/jma.2020.3.1.99-107

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Journal article / Runaway Slaves and Religious Conversion in Colonial Kerala, 1816–1855

Paul, Vinil Baby. ‘“Onesimus to Philemon”: Runaway Slaves and Religious Conversion in Colonial “Kerala”, India, 1816–1855’. International Journal of Asian Christianity 4, no. 1 (March 2021): 50–71.

Abstract (edited): Social and economic aspects predominate the study of religious conversion among the lower castes in Kerala. Most of these studies only explored the lower caste conversion after the legal abolition of slavery in Kerala (1855). The existing literature followed the mass movement phenomena.

These studies ignored the slave lifeworld and conversion history before the abolition period, and they argued that through religious conversion, the former slave castes began breaking social and caste hierarchy with the help of Protestant Christianity. The dominant Dalit Christian historiography does not open the complexity of slave Christian past.

Against this background, this paper explores the history of slave caste conversion before the abolition period. From the colonial period, missionary writings bear out that the slaves were hostile to and suspicious of new religions. They accepted Christianity only cautiously. It was a conscious choice, even as many Dalits refused Christian teachings.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1163/25424246-04010004
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Journal article / (OA) How Sabarimala Temple Entry Issue Played Out on TikTok

Vijay, Darsana, and Alex Gekker. ‘Playing Politics: How Sabarimala Played Out on TikTok’. American Behavioral Scientist. Published ahead of print, 25 January 2021.

Abstract (edited): TikTok is commonly known as a playful, silly platform where teenagers share 15-second videos of crazy stunts or act out funny snippets from popular culture. In the past few years, it has experienced exponential growth and popularity, unseating Facebook as the most downloaded app.

Interestingly, recent news coverage notes the emergence of TikTok as a political actor in the Indian context. They raise concerns over the abundance of divisive content, hate speech, and the lack of platform accountability in countering these issues.

In this article, we analyse how politics is performed on TikTok and how the platform’s design shapes such expressions and their circulation. What does the playful architecture of TikTok mean to the nature of its political discourse and participation?

To answer this, we review existing academic work on play, media, and political participation. We situate our examination of TikTok within the contentious issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala [in Kerala], a temple that women of menstruating age are barred from entering on religious grounds. We examine the case of Sabarimala through the double lens of ludic engagement and platform-specific features.

The efficacy of play as a productive heuristic to study political contention on social media platforms is demonstrated. Finally, we turn to ludo-literacy as a potential strategy that can reveal the structures that order playful political participation and can initiate alternative modes of playing politics.

More info and full text (OA): https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764221989769

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Journal article / Status of Mangrove Forests in Kerala

Sreelekshmi, S., Bijeesh Kozhikkodan Veettil, S. Bijoy Nandan, and M. Harikrishnan. ‘Mangrove Forests along the Coastline of Kerala, Southern India: Current Status and Future Prospects’. Regional Studies in Marine Science 41 (January 2021): 101573.

Abstract (edited): Mangrove forests are considered some of the world’s most productive ecosystems. However, these unique ecosystems are under pressure due to natural as well as anthropogenic threats globally.

Kerala has lost 95% of its mangroves during the last three decades. The floristic diversity of mangroves in Kerala was represented by 18 species of true mangroves of which, Sonneratia alba, Avicennia alba, and Ceriops tagal were found to be rare in the state.

This review examines the current status of mangrove vegetation along the Kerala coast, factors responsible for the decline of mangroves, various conservation measures adopted, and future prospects.

It was found that scientific information on the mangrove area of many districts in this state is still lacking. In this context, GIS and remote sensing would be effective tools for the identification and mapping of various mangrove patches in Kerala.

Furthermore, the conservation and restoration programmes of mangroves in the state have been accelerated after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis.

Since mangroves are separate and unique ecosystems in the marine environment, exclusive mangrove forest conservation laws need to be framed, legislated, and enforced. Along with this, site-specific and community-based mangrove rejuvenation and restoration programmes have to be employed for the long-term management and conservation of this fast-dwindling ecosystem.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2020.101573

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Journal article / Yoga as a Psychosocial Tool for the Flood-Affected

Mathew, D. ‘Yoga as a Potential Psychosocial Tool: Results from a Quasi-Experimental Study on Victims of Flood-Affected State of Kerala’. Advances in Integrative Medicine.

Abstract (edited): Natural disasters of any form leave individuals in agony. Mental and social health are among the notable domains affected by such disasters. According to WHO, 22% of the people living in an affected area express the symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

Thirty-two participants (Mean age 37.8 years) victims from a flood-affected state of India were enrolled for 15 days of yoga interventions after obtaining written consent. Breathing exercises and guided relaxation techniques were provided as intervention after obtaining a self-rated visual analog scale (VAS) for fear, sadness, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

All the participants completed the study. Statistically significant changes were observed in all the VAS-dependent scale variables, such as fear, sadness, anxiety, and lack of sleep. No adverse events were reported.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aimed.2021.01.004
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Journal article / Mitigating the Long-Term Psychosocial Impact of a Disaster

Kiran, P. S., Bindu Mohan, V. Abhijith, Amal Abraham, G. Anoop, R. S. Dinesh, Hareesh Krishnan, et al. ‘Framework for Strengthening Primary Health Care and Community Networks to Mitigate the Long-Term Psychosocial Impact of Floods in Kerala’. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 52 (January 2021), Article 101947.

Abstract (edited): Individuals who encounter disasters experience negative consequences across physical, mental, and psychosocial domains. Impacts on mental health and psychosocial domains are more common, and last longer than physical health problems.

In August 2018, Kerala witnessed unprecedented floods that resulted in 483 deaths and significant loss of property and livelihood. Project ‘Pariraksha’ was implemented by the Government of Kerala, to mitigate the long-term psychosocial impact of the disaster. It has been one of the largest comprehensive post-disaster psychosocial projects in India, aimed to benefit approximately 2 million people across 93 panchayats which experienced severe flooding and loss of life.

This paper describes the detailed methodology of this project. In addition, the supplementary material includes the technical manuals that were prepared and are freely accessible to personnel in disaster-affected zones. Counsellors were newly appointed in all the primary health centres in affected panchayats to provide mental health and psychosocial support. Accredited Social Health Activists (community-level health workers) undertook home visits to ensure early case detection.

Medical officers in affected areas received booster training regarding pharmacological management of mental health issues. Multidisciplinary mobile mental health teams were constituted to ensure the availability of specialised mental health inputs locally. The project integrated additional mental health resource personnel, into the existing health care system. Existing health care personnel received training to improve competency in dealing with post-disaster psychosocial issues. This framework is expected to ensure early detection and intervention, thus facilitating timely psychosocial recovery of communities impacted by the floods.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101947
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Journal article / Social Vulnerability Index for Coastal Thiruvananthapuram

Shaji, J. Evaluating Social Vulnerability of People Inhabiting a Tropical Coast in Kerala, South West Coast of India. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 56 (1 April 2021). Published ahead of print, 17 February 2021.

Abstract (edited): Coastal Social Vulnerability Index (CSoVI) studies have drawn considerable attention in recent years due to their significance in identifying the spatial variation of socially vulnerable people inhabiting the coast. CSoVI provides a comparative spatial assessment of human capacity to respond to coastal hazards.

The present study is an attempt to compute CSoVI for the coast of Thiruvananthapuram, which is densely populated and beset with several problems. This coast stretches for 75 km covering nine panchayats and two urban centres with an average population density of 3,119 persons per sq km.

CSoVI has been defined in this study in terms of eleven quantifiable variables, comprising four demographic, three economic, and four infrastructural variables. Social Vulnerability Index (CSoVI) of each coastal panchayat was computed after adding the factor scores of extracted four PCs placed in an additive model after adjusting their cardinality on social vulnerability.

The study reveals that about 25% (19 km) of the coastline in Thiruvananthapuram is high socially vulnerable. Medium Social Vulnerability is found in three local bodies of the coast and covered 55% (41 km) of the coastline. Low Social Vulnerability is observed for about 20% (15 km) of the coastline.

The findings will be useful for the concerned departments, Trivandrum Corporation, and coastal panchayats of Thiruvananthapuram district in framing out various strategies for disaster risk reduction and resilience increase in the coast.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2021.102130
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Journal article / The Gendered Film Worker: Women in Cinema Collective

Mannil, Bindu Menon. ‘The Gendered Film Worker: Women in Cinema Collective, Intimate Publics and the Politics of Labour’. Studies in South Asian Film & Media 11, no. 2, 191–207.

 

Abstract: Although Indian cinema studies as a discipline has long been involved in various theoretical elaborations of film production, not until recently has it engaged with the question of the gendered nature of film work. In this piece, I attempt to develop a framework centred around the politics of labour to provide a useful case to highlight how thoughtful engagement with these categories provides immense value for both contemporary film scholarship and feminist histories of media.

In trying to situate Women in Cinema Collective, the first collective of women film workers to be formed in India, in the larger history of labour politics and women workers collectives of the recent past, I try to disaggregate a larger episteme of women’s work that emerges across the flexible labour economies of the neo-liberal present.

Through examining the Women in Cinema Collective’s social media campaigns, advocacy work, petitioning and legal counselling, I argue that Women in Cinema Collective emerges as a tenuous collective whose work moves across the porous boundaries of a new social movement, workers collective and an autonomous women’s group.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1386/safm_00028_1

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Journal article / Unpaid Labour in the Malayalam Film Industry

Mini, Darshana Sreedhar. Cinema and the Mask of Capital: Labour Debates in the Malayalam Film Industry. Studies in South Asian Film & Media 11, no. 2 (December 2020): 173–89.

Abstract: Labour discourses in the film industry are often couched in the language of ‘welfare’ and an effort to maintain harmony among different filmmaking sectors. But such arrangements do not proffer equal participation or bargaining rights to everyone in the industry.

Focusing on the Malayalam language film industry based in Kerala, this article examines how the film industry’s apprenticeship and unpaid labour arrangements affect below-the-line labour and less influential job profiles on a film set. In corollary, I also explore how labour and bargaining rights are conceptualised differently by film organisations based on their ideological positions.

Using a mixed-methods approach, including media ethnography and interviews with members of different trade guilds who form part of Malayalam cinema’s professional, technical, and service sectors, I demonstrate how structural inequalities in the film industry are overlooked while the cine worker’s agency is co-opted by a neoliberal system that masquerades as welfare.

More info: https://doi.org/10.1386/safm_00027_1

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Journal article / Football and Masculinity in North Kerala

Mani, Veena, and Mathangi Krishnamurthy. ‘The Work of Sporting Bodies: Football and Masculinity in North Kerala’. Verge: Studies in Global Asias 7, no. 1 (Spring 2021): 147–69.

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate how sevens, a particular, local and dynamic form of football in North Kerala, also functions as an important avenue for work and sustenance.

Even as sevens signifies important modes of joyous performative masculinity and subjectivity for men in North Kerala, we examine it as a form of work in order to produce an intersectional and located understanding of gendered subjectivities vis-à-vis sport and the sportsperson.

We argue that this largely uncontrolled, irregular network of what we see as sports labour reveals how economic factors, such as high unemployment and recessive job markets, often congeal with social dispositions such as expectations of masculinity to produce unique gendered relationships between sport and its actors in localised South Asian contexts.

More info: https://doi.org/10.5749/vergstudglobasia.7.1.0147

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