From closeness to openness: repositioning of the Indian kitchen and restructuring of the gender system

Author
Raj, Sony Jalarajan
Suresh, Adith K.
Faculty Advisor
Date
2022
Keywords
openness , Indian kitchens , spice kitchens , open kitchens , gender , women
Abstract (summary)
The concept of the kitchen is an integral part of household interiors that defines a space of interactivity essential to the organic existence of individuals in society. The traditional Indian kitchen is a closed space separated from the living room and other open spaces where members interact regularly. It is conventionally established as a gendered space restricted for women members to partake in activities of food production, serving, and cleaning. The modern idea of the kitchen, especially seen in Western architecture, is articulated through the notion of ‘openness’ which strictly contradicts the ‘closeness’ of the Indian kitchen. This paper examines how the transformation from an Indian spice kitchen (separated structuring of the kitchen in a way to contain the smell of spices from spreading to other parts of the house) to a modern open kitchen redefines the existing gender coordinates of the land. It uses two critically acclaimed Malayalam films—from the south Indian cinema of Kerala— namely Salt N’ Pepper (2011) and The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) to analyze and differentiate the visual representations of the open and closed kitchens in India. It argues that a restructured modern kitchen challenges the traditional gendered kitchen and nourishes a participatory culture that demands open interaction from all participants.
Publication Information
Raj, S.J., & Suresh, A.K. (2022). From closeness to openness: Repositioning of the Indian kitchen and restructuring of the gender system, Interiors, https://doi.org/10.1080/20419112.2022.215499
Notes
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