The social struggle of being HIJRA in Bangladesh - cultural aspiration between inclusion and illegitimacy

University essay from Malmö högskola/Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (KS)

Abstract: The hijra subculture in Bangladesh remains one of the most marginalized and violated minority groups in Bangladesh. However, with recent legislative change in Bangladesh, the group has gained legal recognition in that a third official gender has been introduced. The people that conform to the third gender are now allowed to, in any formal and official documents within the nation, list hijra as their gender. This thesis investigates the media representation of the hijra movement’s struggle before, and after the legislative change. To serve this end, the productions of three leading English speaking media platforms have been analyzed. The aim is to further increase the understanding of the representation and visibility of the hijra rights movement, and the hijra situation in the public sphere of media. Subsequently, the study concerns the normative structures in Bangladesh, and how media as a communicative tool can focus the audience’s attention, whilst adding to these structures or challenging them. The context of culture, media as a tool for communication, and the functions of social constructivism constitute the foundation for the analysis. The investigation consists mainly of a textual discourse analysis of chosen articles from the three different media platforms.

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