Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Urbanity and its Discontents: Violence, Masculinity and Dispossession in Delhi

The recent discourse about sexual violence in Delhi is masking deeper material transformations occurring in the region. Agricultural lands in peri-urban Delhi—which currently constitutes two-thirds of Delhi—are being acquired at a fast pace per the state's mandate to double the urbanized area of Delhi by 2021. As shopping malls and gated communities are being erected on village lands, rural men from urban villages are being considered a threat to urban modernity as the incidents of sexual violence in which rural men are perpetrators are being selectively highlighted in newspaper reports. These discursive developments and material transformations have produced an exceptionally precarious state for young males from urban villages who are being forced to confront a service industry economy, a mode of production for which they possess neither the habitus, nor the education. My dissertation project will explore the emergent processes of subject-making of these male youth from urban villages, and particularly their notions and practices of masculinity, within the context of a fast changing political economy in Delhi characterized by transformations in modes of production and relationships to land, the emergence of new class and status groups, and the influx of new patterns of consumerism.