Disaggregating Clustered Neighborhood Disadvantage from Individual Instrumentality: Muslim and Non-Muslim Differences in Maternal and Child Health in India

Sangeeta Parashar, Montclair State University
Tannistha Samanta, Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar

Although post-ICPD discourse highlighted women’s empowerment as a means of demographic change, there is increasing anxiety over a diminishing welfare state and an overemphasis on individual responsibility. Politicized discussions about religion and maternal-child health outcomes among Muslims in India, moreover, tend to focus on individual-level explanations suggesting the restrictive nature of Islam on women’s empowerment, rather than macro-level factors such as infrastructure or socioeconomic development. By using data from the 2004/05 IDHS, our paper addresses this macro-micro debate through the following questions: Does residing in an ethnic enclave concentrate health advantages of networks or conversely does it restrict access to health-promoting resources common in more advantaged neighborhoods? What are the pathways whereby advantage or disadvantage of residing in these ethnic enclaves is transmitted? Consequently, if Muslim women and their children do indeed experience poorer health outcomes, are these differences reflective of group membership or structured disadvantage due to group membership?

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Presented in Poster Session 5