Self-concept of married women in South India: A grounded theory approach

Emmanuel Arockiam, Marquette University


The history of women in India would be very bleak if we looked through the eyes of women because of the dehumanizing practices such as sati, purdah, dowry, child marriages, female feticide and infanticide that were widely practiced for centuries. But the influence exerted during the 19th and 20th centuries by the persistent efforts of some enlightened reformers and of the British rulers has resulted in promulgating certain laws designed to correct these problems. In this twenty-first century, despite considerable growth in some areas, women do not enjoy equality with men in India. In this context, though the topic of women's self-concept is relevant and quite unexplored, available literature from the psychological point of view is little. Keeping in mind the abstract nature of the topic, the lack of literature on the topic, and the culture of the participants, a qualitative study was done to understand the self-concept of married women in South India. Using in-depth semi-structured interviews and the Grounded theory approach of analysis through open, axiel and selective codings propounded by Strauss and Corbin (1990), data were collected in English from 13 married women in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to understand how married women viewed themselves. The semi-structured in-depth interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed for manual coding. Two unique features of this study were to (1) use the technique of Twilight Imagery to elicit Metaphors the participants had on a subconscious level and (2) get the help of an auditor to check the open coding for validity. From the descriptions, prescriptions and expectations of the participants, concepts, categories and core categories of their self-concept were abstracted. Along with family, academic and career, spiritual, social and physical core categories, the influence of culture and various psychological processes that affect the participants' self-concept were explored. As a result, this comprehensive study has attempted to develop a comprehensive, integrative description of a theory of self-concept of married and employed women in South India.

Recommended Citation

Arockiam, Emmanuel, "Self-concept of married women in South India: A grounded theory approach" (2006). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3244556.