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Shaheen Bagh Protests and Street-Festivals in DLF City, Gurgaon: Urban Politics and the Making of a New ‘Ordinary’ Citizen in India


1 Oct urban politics in India Part of King’s India Institute Seminars

This talk explores the re-making of ideas of the ‘ordinary citizen’ in India in the context of a new social and political environment and changing relationships between the state and private capital. Focusing on one of India’s largest privately developed townships – DLF City – that adjoins Delhi, my talks explores the ways in which activities by middle and upper-middle class residents of DLF City produce new narratives of ‘ordinariness’. Within them, socio-economically privileged groups come to be represented as ‘the common people’, contesting the post-colonial state’s historical focus on the welfare of marginal populations. This discussion suggests that contemporary narratives of ‘ordinariness’ in India require an engagement with the term beyond its deployment in critical social science literature where it is posited as a politics of speaking truth to power. And that the appropriation of ordinariness by the privileged in the Indian context is part of a new politics of class, caste, majoritarianism and changing relationships between the state and private capital.

Presenter Bio:

Sanjay Srivastava is British Academy Global Professor at University College London and Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. An anthropologist by training, his research focuses on cultures of modernity in India. His publications include Constructing Post-colonial India: National Character and the Doon School (Routledge, 1998); Passionate Modernity, Sexuality, Class and Consumption in India (Routledge, 2007); Sexuality Studies ( contributing editor; OUP, 2013); Entangled Urbanism: Slum, Gated Community and Shopping Mall in Delhi and Gurgaon (OUP, 2015); Critical Theme in Indian Sociology (co-editor; SAGE, 2019, co-editor) and (Hi)stories of Desire: Sexualities and Culture in Modern India (co-editor; Cambridge University Press, 2020).

His current research focuses on new urbanism, urban cultures and changing relationships between the state, private capital and category of 'the people'.


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