ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Spatial Inequalities in Big Indian Cities

Using ward-level data released by the census, the paper carries out a study of residential segregation in the 10 most populated Indian cities. It finds that there is significant residential segregation by caste and also by access to in-house drinking water, a basic public good, and access to in-house latrines, a basic private good. Further, in the case of some cities covered in the study, the proportion of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in wards is highly correlated with access to public, private, and luxury goods.

Sub-cities of Bengaluru

Sub-city typologies could enable a better understanding of urban heterogeneity. Ward-level Population Enumeration Data, and Houselisting and Housing Census Data from the 2011 Census is here used to construct sub-city typologies for Bengaluru. Nine variables from the census are selected to represent three broad classes of attributes for each ward--housing conditions, availability of amenities, and socio-economic status. Hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analysis methods are then used to delineate empirical typologies. The results indicate that a four-cluster solution may provide a useful typological classification of Bengaluru wards. The utility and limitations of such an approach are also discussed.

Surveying Slums

With an increased policy emphasis on slum surveys, the story of such surveys in Delhi assumes importance, including the "power to survey" vested in the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. There is a need to closely analyse the way in which such surveys are carried out, the data that are collected, and the purposes for which they might be used. A review of the legal frameworks on slum surveying and the case of Delhi reveal that there is much variation in the process of data collection. Surveys that determine the mode of rehabilitation of a slum have life-changing implications for residents, and survey processes have to be accurate and participative.

Reading Spatial Inequality in Urban India

Where one lives matters because patterns of spatial inequality shape the horizons of urban lives. They also critically affect urban policies, especially in large metropolitan cities where intra-urban differences can be of very large magnitudes. Gaining insights from recently released ward-level census data for urban settlements, this paper uses a set of constructed indices and geospatial maps to focus on spatial inequality within cities and across scales of settlements. Arguing that the slum is not a proxy for urban poverty and inadequate housing patterns, it underscores the need for newer methods to spatially trace multidimensional urban poverty and vulnerability.

Big Data to Improve Urban Planning

Data analytics is a frontier field where the tools and techniques are still being developed. Expertise, a critical input, is in short supply, the other being access to data. Even so, Colombo-based LIRNEasia has demonstrated the value of mobile network big data for urban planning in Sri Lanka's capital city. Pseudonymised, historical call detail records from multiple mobile operators have been analysed to understand and monitor land use, congregations of people, peak and off-peak travel patterns, communities, and traffic.

The Selfie and the Slut

The selfie, which has become a default aesthetic of self-representation, is either mocked at as a fad, or considered as a digital photograph. This paper looks at the phenomenon of "selfie-shaming" to see how either of these approaches of dismissal or trying to regulate the selfie through the same regulatory frameworks as the photograph fail to capture the complex practices of body, technology, control, and regulation that are implicated in this phenomenon. In looking at selfie-shaming and the subsequent processes of "slut shaming", it argues that we need to think of selfies not only as cultural artefacts but also as born digital objects to show how it produces new regimes of control and visibility of women's bodies online. Drawing from software studies, cyber-feminism and digital cultures, it constructs the case of #GamerGate to show how we need to expand the scope of women's problems of consent and agency online beyond the instances of revenge and non-consensual pornography.

Risking Feminism?

This paper is a classroom ethnography that engages with urban, middle-class narratives on feminism by young women. For them, their feminism is often precarious because it places possible heterosexual romance at risk by marking them as apparently anti-men. Further, it tends to place them in antagonistic relationships with their families, compelling them to engage in various strategies of negotiation, subversion and rebellion. This paper examines their understanding of both possible heterosexual relationships and the complex negotiations with families. Reflecting on these narratives, it argues that young women feminists today are taking risks, asking difficult questions, critically evaluating their own location and subject positions in their engagement with a feminist politics and practice.

Navigating a Field of Opposition

This paper attempts to think through an impasse in the field of feminist scholarship and activism in India, one that has been perceived and analysed by many feminist scholars in the last few years. This seeming impasse pertains to the "caste and gender" relationship, which has produced a field of opposition on questions related to sexual labour and sexualised representation. The focus of the study is on the figure of the bar dancer and the devadasi, and the continuing debates on their practice or the systems they are located in, to argue that this false field of opposition is created by a growing separation between legal and social reform and the consequent erasure of social histories of caste in moments that are overdetermined by the law. This paper, therefore, advocates a return to thinking through questions of consent, agency and freedom through the realm of social practice and history.

On Fire in Weibo

The year 2012 witnessed a new wave of feminism in mainland China with feminist performance art in the street and feminist online activism. Through examining three significant online activities in China since 2012, this paper explores how feminists have made the social media, especially Weibo, their new stage for feminist activities that are different from the traditional ones and that are able to provoke heated discussions among both the public and the mainstream media. Through Weibo and the other social media, grass-roots feminists have opened up a new bottom-up mode of activism different from the dominant top-down paradigm prevalent since the 1980s.

In the Eye of International Feminism

This paper proposes that sex work and feminism have been knotted and kept apart in much of Anglophone feminism in part due to historical and historiographic reasons. This conundrum casts a long shadow on former cold war territories like Taiwan, and has a bearing on the shape taken by feminist politics therein, notably in the "sex wars" of the 1990s.

Selective Inclusions and Exclusions

Ratnagiri, a small town on the western coast of Maharashtra, is an important urban settlement in the Konkan region. This article examines the town's uneven spatial and economic development by focusing on the fishing and tourism sectors, highlighting the historically generated and socially produced contradictions and contestations within and between them. It argues that the very instruments of spatial planning meant to address uneven development end up reinforcing and exacerbating existing spatio-social and political inequalities. It goes on to trace the processes by which spatial planning becomes an arena where regulations are bent and flouted by directly influencing local and state-level actors through a negotiated approach to planning.

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