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

Gardner, Katy (2022) Cool yourself and be strong: emotional fixes in the work of Bangladeshi marriage advisers. Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 45 (2). 290 - 303. ISSN 1081-6976

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Identification Number: 10.1111/plar.12500


Building on Andrea Pia's notion of the ethical fix, this article shows how emotional fixes are used to bring emotions into balance at a feminist nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Promoting a noninterventionist stance in which its advisers do not directly tell their clients what to do, the NGO provides legal advice and counseling to women facing problems in their marriages. Emotional fixes include building clients’ inner strength, cooling emotions, and shaming abusive husbands. These fixes enable the advisers to reconcile what appears 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 advisers are obscured. Client emotions are malleable and fluid, and injunctions by advisers for clients to cultivate particular states, such as ‘coolness’ can work in a range of ways. While the antipolitics of the emotional fix can cut both ways—concealing both emancipatory and conservative politics - like Pia's ethical fixthe emotional fix itself remains piecemeal and fragile.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2022 12:51
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2023 06:21

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