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Cool yourself and be strong: emotional fixes in the work of Bangladeshi marriage advisors

Gardner, Katy (2022) Cool yourself and be strong: emotional fixes in the work of Bangladeshi marriage advisors. Political and Legal Anthropology Review. ISSN 1081-6976

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Building on Pia’s notion of the ‘ethical fix’ this article shows how ‘emotional fixes’ aim at bringing emotions into balance at a feminist NGO in Dhaka. Promoting a non interventionist stance in which its advisors do not directly tell their clients what to do, the organisation provides legal advice and counselling to women facing problems in their marriages. Emotional fixes such as work done to build clients’ inner strength, cool ‘hot’ emotions and shame abusive husbands enables the advisors to reconcile what appear from the outside to be contradictory positions: feminism on the one hand, and adherence to hierarchical kinship norms on the other. This means that more intractable issues are avoided and the potentially contradictory ethical stances of the advisors obscured, for emotions are malleable and fluid, and injunctions to cultivate or discipline them can be put to work in a wide range of ways. Yet whilst the anti-politics of the emotional fix can cut both ways – concealing both emancipatory and conservative politics - like Pia’s ethical fix, it remains piecemeal and fragile.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 Wiley
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2022 16:06
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 17:21

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