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

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Dangerous Liaisons

Safety in public spaces has thus far been tied to the notion of state responsibility and client-hood. For women particularly, this status of client-hood is linked intimately with ideologies of protectionism and the need to demonstrate protection-worthiness through manufacturing respectability. This reduces rather than enhances women's access to public space. This paper interrogates the discourse of safety in public space to argue that making a claim to the right to take risks in public space rather than petitioning for safety might take women further in the struggle to access public space as citizens. Focusing on Mumbai's growing hierarchies of access to public space, the paper also argues that women's exclusion from public space is linked to the exclusion of other marginal citizens.

M umbai, the commercial capital of India, is a city that revolves around calculated and intuitive risk: what train to catch, where to invest, what kind of insurance, to travel with a railway pass or free, how to save ones skin during bomb blasts or on days of torrential rainfall, are only some of the uncertainties that the average Mumbaikar takes on.

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