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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Narrating Danger: Contemporary discourses of gendered safety in India’, 13th February, 2015 .


‘Narrating Danger: Contemporary discourses of gendered safety in India’


Dr. Shilpa Phadke,
Tata Institute of Social Sciences,


In the wake of protests and critical amendments in the law following the gang rape and murder of a young woman on the streets of New Delhi in December 2012, a new discourse of gendered safety appears to have emerged in India. This paper will engage with the conversations now taking place in urban India and examine the ways in which issues are being deflected by various individuals and groups that purport to speak for and/or on behalf of women. It will make connections with the feminist movement in India, interrogating the idea of the 'new' in this contemporary discourse and reflecting on why questions of consent are now more unspeakable than ever. It will attempt to examine the ways in which multiple voices coming from different ideological positions get themselves heard in this 'safety conversation', making it both deeply contested and impossibly complicated, and the implications this has for women in India laying claim to public space in the city.


Dr. Shilpa Phadke is a sociologist, researcher and teacher. She is Assistant Professor at the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and is currently researching in two separate projects, feminist mothering and the location of young men on streets in Mumbai. She is co-author of Why Loiter: Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets (2011). She has been educated at St. Xavier’s College, SNDT University, TISS in Mumbai and the University of Cambridge, UK.

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