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    Defying Delhi’s enclosures: strategies for managing a difficult city

    Butcher, Melissa (2017) Defying Delhi’s enclosures: strategies for managing a difficult city. Gender, Place & Culture 25 (5), pp. 727-742. ISSN 0966-369X.

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    Abstract

    Reflecting wider debates on the city as a site of coercion and opportunity, Delhi is marked by the coordinates of both cultural nationalism and neo-liberal aspiration. The former positions the city as a site of cultural pollution, at times claiming ‘western lifestyles’ have contributed to gendered assault. In juxtaposition, Delhi’s neo-liberal landscape positions the female body as a valued commodity, iconic of ‘globalised living’, embedded in discourses of autonomy and modernity. This paper will argue that these entangled cultural constructs have created a city of threat and discomfort that problematizes women’s access, be it for livelihood or leisure, enclosing women within coordinates not of their making. Yet rather than acquiesce to this urban topology, the agency of the single, middle-aged, middle-class women in this ethnographic study extends our understanding of the agonistic relationships within urban space, and the capacity to negotiate them using practices of avoidance, deception, adaptation, defiance, and care, at times creating their own enclosures in the process that enabled access to the city. Age and class as well as gendered expectations impacted on the available resources and outcomes of these negotiations, revealing the diverse possibilities of urban living that can enable pockets of social and political flourishing even within a difficult city.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): cultural change, Delhi, gender, agency, urban ethnography, everyday practice
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Melissa Butcher
    Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2017 07:36
    Last Modified: 27 Jul 2019 10:17
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/19775

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