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Title: Risk and the everyday: potentialities, gendered mobilities and women’s worlds in Banaras
Authors: Gupta, S 
Keywords: Banaras
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2023
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Gupta, S (2023-01-01). Risk and the everyday: potentialities, gendered mobilities and women’s worlds in Banaras. Gender, Place and Culture : 1-24. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This ethnographic study is an exploration of risk as an everyday practice that women undertake to actualize their mobilities and social worlds in the city of Banaras, renowned as a sacred urban city in Northern India. The scholarship about this site has typically not centered on women’s experiences, knowledge, and lives, in narrating the overwhelming sacred rhetoric of the city. This paper contributes to the extant scholarship on gender, risk, corporeality, and urbanity by establishing a dialogue between risk theories embedded in institutional management discourse, emerging from Western contexts, and the lived and embodied risk practices of women in the global South. Risk, as conceptualized in this paper, presents a grounded discussion of women’s active and conscious modes of being emplaced in myriad sites in urban cities through their mobilities. In essence, the paper draws links between the potentiality of everyday risk-taking and women’s mobilities. This is achieved through interrogating the embedded notions of ‘respectable’ femininity, honor, fear, and violence, through ethnographic accounts of having observed, interacted with, and interviewed women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds in the city. In doing so, the paper argues that women attempt to enable themselves and recreate their worlds in a patriarchal urban setting through various intersectional forms of risk-taking, namely, what I denote ‘imposed’ and ‘chosen’ varieties, which intersect in complex ways. Therefore, the paper highlights women’s risk-taking as potentializing the everyday but also views this as a practice that sustains them as inhabitants of Banaras.
Source Title: Gender, Place and Culture
ISSN: 0966-369X
DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2023.2200537
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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