Situated Citizenship: Understanding Sikh Citizenship through Women’s Exclusion

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Democratization scholars point to institutional indicators to argue that Indian democracy is consolidated and Indian women are full citizens. I point to another set of data to demonstrate that Indian democracy is at risk because of the gendered nature of citizenship. I argue that institutional indicators tell a very limited story, because they often render women and gender invisible. I analyze situated citizenship through semi-structured, in-depth interview data. I find that respondents naturalize gendered citizenship, which results in a demarcation of home and marriage as the natural space of Sikh women. I find a situation of exclusionary inclusion, where women are an essential part of formal institutional democracy, but are unable to acquire full, substantive citizenship because they are understood as restricted to home and marriage. These results suggest that Indian democracy is weaker than democratization literature would suggest because women experience democracy differentially; women do not have the actual power to be active as citizens, to enjoy a bundle of rights, and to command democratic participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-401
JournalPolitics, Groups, and Identities
StatePublished - 2014


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