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Negotiating Spaces in the City

Women from Outside

Selfing the City: Single Women Migrants and Their Lives in Kolkata by Ipshita Chanda, New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2017; pp xi + 323, 995.

Selfing the City: Single Women Migrants and Their Lives in Kolkata looks at the lives of single, middle- class women, who have moved to the city of Kolkata from smaller cities, towns and villages across eastern India. Ipshita Chanda introduces the concept of “selfing” to look at how women negotiate with the unknown space of the city, arguing that one’s sense of self is produced through one’s experiences with both the material and the affective dimensions of the space one inhabits.

Using narratives that were collected as part of a survey and group discussions, the book focuses on women’s experiences of finding accommodation, negotiating with landlords, interacting with roommates and colleagues, dealing with feelings of security and safety, and building friendships and families, all within a city where they are outsiders. The book thus provides a detailed picture of the many processes that women undertake as part of dwelling in cities, dwelling being an act that connects the inhabiting of space and the fashioning of one’s self.

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Updated On : 17th May, 2018

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