This is a book about embodiment and identity in the context of particular women's lives in an urban setting. It is concerned with the development of a sociology of embodiment in the context of women's lives in contemporary, urban India. The focus on embodiment is mediated by gender and class, two critical elements that constitute identity in relation to embodiment. The study is based on material collected from interviews with working class women in an urban slum and with professional, upper class women, with young women in secondary schools and from material from a women's magazine. Apart from theoretical considerations, the book gives centrality to women's voice in the construction of her identity as an embodied being, located in particular socio-economic settings in urban India. The book also attempts to provide an understanding of resistance in the context of women's lives, both as a conceptual tool and a strategy in everyday life.
Chapter 5: The Body as a Weapon: Embodiment, Work and Identity
The Body as a Weapon: Embodiment, Work and Identity
In this chapter, I present the stories of women slum dwellers in Jahangirpuri, a resettlement colony in north-western Delhi. It is a large slum, located on the borders of Delhi and Haryana, with a population of approximately seven lakh (1 lakh = 100,000) persons. There is a mix of permanent housing structures and small, precarious, unstable hutments (jhuggis) set up as part of a resettlement drive to shift slum dwellers in 1976. The economic condition of the slum dwellers worsened due to the occurrence of floods in 1978 and the burden of poverty was hoisted onto women who took up the task of looking after the family and ...