ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Space, Insecurity and Identity in a Muslim Neighbourhood

Narratives of Exclusion

Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork carried out in a "Muslim" neighbourhood in Kolkata, this paper attempts to understand the ways in which Muslim socio-spatial segregation gets constructed and maintained within the landscape of Indian cities. It argues that in the case of Kolkata, Muslim socio-spatial segregation can be viewed as an unfortunate consequence of the dual processes of bhadralok cultural prejudice against Muslims as well as the insecurity Muslims encounter on an everyday basis in the city. The restrictive and debilitating effects of exclusion based on spatial stigma, especially the ways in which they affect Muslims belonging to various socio-economic dispositions, are emphasised. Continued instances of exclusion can potentially engender a reverse assertion of identity by segregated groups who might eventually find it feasible to construct a monolithic and exclusive identity set apart from, and in opposition to, the city's mainstream.

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