First Our Fields, Now Our Women

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This paper is about gender politics in Delhi’s urban villages in transition. It explores the gender differentiated ways in which men and women of Delhi’s urban villages have experienced the shift from peasant subsistence economy to capitalist urban economy, the implications this has had for gender relations and family dynamics and whether the shift has transformed the relations of men and women of dominant castes with those of other (lower) castes and communities inhabiting the villages. It argues that patriarchal codes of mobility, honour and sexuality, though far from disappearing, are changing. Men and women seem to be strategically employing the tropes of ‘urban’/‘rural’, ‘modern’/‘traditional’ to justify their attempts at wresting some power for themselves as they attempt to reconstitute their masculinities and femininities in these urban villages in transition. The paper is primarily based on an ongoing gendered ethnography of one such urban village in present-day South Delhi.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSouth Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2013


  • urban villages
  • Delhi
  • gender politics
  • development
  • dominant caste
  • jats


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