Tracing Indian Girls’ Embodied Orientations Towards Public Life

Aruldoss, Vinnarasan and Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa. 2019. Tracing Indian Girls’ Embodied Orientations Towards Public Life. Gender, Place & Culture, 26(11), pp. 1588-1608. ISSN 0966-369X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Contemporary figurations of the ‘the Indian Woman’ over recent years have been heavily influenced by national and international media coverage focused on high profile, gruesome and brutal cases of rape and sexual assault of women in public. The suffering involved in such cases notwithstanding, we argue that investment in such representations runs the risk of limiting our understanding of the varied experiences of female bodies in public life. Most significantly, the bodies of younger girls and how they relate to public life is mostly assumed rather than studied. Drawing on a sub-sample of ethnographies of younger children aged 6-8 living in the city of Hyderabad, India and employing the phenomenological concept of ‘orientation’ (Ahmed 2006a), the article explores young girls’ everyday embodied orientation towards public life, with an intersectional framework. The paper considers three case studies from different spatial/cultural contexts and the empirical material is organised around the themes of the male gaze in a public space, orienting bodies in a schooled space, and the lived body in a domestic space.

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This research was supported by a European Research Council Starting
Grant [ERC-StG-335514] to Sevasti-Melissa Nolas.


gender, body, orientation, phenomenology, childhood, India

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16 January 2019Accepted
20 May 2019Published Online
13 September 2019Published

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23 Jan 2019 10:30

Last Modified:

20 May 2020 01:26

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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