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SPECIAL ARTICLE

Unfriendly Bodies, Hostile Cities Reflections on Loitering and Gendered Public Space
Shilpa Phadke

Following sexual assaults on women in public spaces in cities, discussions tend to frame the issue in terms of womens safety in the streets rather than their right to access public space. The overarching narrative appears to be that cities are violent spaces that women are better off not accessing at all. This paper attempts to make a case for women and others accessing a city which is perceived as hostile, and to do so without being censured. It argues that loitering offers the possibility of rewriting the city as a more inclusive, diverse and pleasurable one.

The web version of this article corrects a few errors that appeared in the print edition.

Versions of this paper were presented at the L B Kenny Endowment Lecture at the Asiatic Society, Mumbai, March 2012; Subaltern Urbanism, Columbia University, Mumbai, January 2013; Inequality, Mobility and Sociality in Contemporary India, Yale University, the US, April 2013; Wellesley College, the US, April 2013; and Brandeis University, the US, May 2013. The author would like to thank the participants at all of these for their engaged and thoughtful comments. Thanks especially to Abhay Sardesai, Amit S Rai, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade who commented on this paper at various stages. Shilpa Phadke (shilpa@tiss.edu) teaches at the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

n 22 August 2013 ve men gang-raped a young photojournalist in the dilapidated Shakti Mills premises in Mumbai. It immediately set off discussions in news features, blogs and broadcast news about how dangerous the city had become and how womens mobility was going to be further restricted. The question of unfriendly space assumed centre stage when in New Delhi ve men brutally raped and assaulted a young physiotherapy student in a bus and beat up her male friend before throwing them off the vehicle on 16 December last year. Thousands protested against the incident on the streets of Delhi and other cities. These protesters demanded better infrastructure, more efcient policing, and more stringent punishment for the rapists. It is the question of womens safety on the streets that frames this discussion rather than any concern with womens right to access public space. The question of making streets safer for women is not an easy one, because the discourse of safety is not an inclusive one and tends to divide people into us and them tacitly sanctioning violence against them in order to protect us (Phadke et al 2009). This is endorsed by the wide reportage of any sexual assault that involves lower class men attacking middle class women.1 In comparison, upper and middle class perpetrators of sexual violence get off easily.2 So also when lower class, dalit or tribal women are sexually assaulted the media barely covers these attacks and there is little or no public outrage. The overarching narrative appears to be that cities are violent spaces that women are better off not accessing at all. An examination of responses by the state and its functionaries to the attacks on women is telling. Following the Mumbai attack, Maharashtras Home Minister R R Patil offered police protection to women journalists on assignments. In response to the sexual assault of a young woman who worked in a Gurgaon mall on 12 March 2012, the Gurgaon police and administration passed an order that malls and other similar establishments in the city should not permit women to work after 8 pm, without permission from the labour commissioner. In response to the Park Street rape in Kolkata on the night of 5 February 2012, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suggested that the rape victim was part of a conspiracy to defame her government. The West Bengal government suggested that pubs should not stay open after 11 pm. In reaction to the murder of journalist Sowmya Vishwanathan in 2008, Delhi chief minister, Sheila Dikshit suggested that one should not be so adventurous.3 Even after the December 2012 attack, her rst
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response was to evade responsibility by claiming that the bus service was a private one. These responses suggest that large cities and particularly public spaces are unfriendly, even hostile spaces for women. The state and its functionaries appear to believe that given this hostility, women might be better off avoiding these spaces altogether. Thus, not only do the former not just abdicate their responsibilities to facilitate access and provide justice, if not safety, but they also assume that nobody would want to access unfriendly spaces.4 If the discourse on safety is inadequate to further womens claims to public space, how might we strategise to push for womens rights to public space? It is imperative to engage with the question of womens rights to public space as citizens, posing a counter voice to not just the voices of moral policing but also to challenge the centrality of the discourse of safety even among those protesting government inaction. I have argued earlier that what women need in order to access public space is not conditional safety but the right to take risks (Phadke 2005). While I was researching womens access to public space in the early 2000s, two aspects became quickly apparent. One, that most respondents agreed that women must be safe in public space, and two, that the women they were referring to were inevitably middle class, usually Hindu upper caste, mostly heterosexual and always respectable women. Written not too subtly in the subtext was the assumption that women were unsafe due to the presence of two categories of people: rst, that of a certain kind of man usually lower class, mostly migrant, often unemployed and sometimes uncomfortably Muslim; second, that of the un-respectable woman: the street walker, the bar dancer. The rst group was perceived to be a threat to womens physical safety, the second and by no means less important group was perceived to produce a threat to the reputation of even respectable women. In this paper, I focus on the lower-class male, asking questions around the access of different groups of people who might not be friendly to each other. My colleagues and I suggested that the celebration of loitering was an important way of claiming city public spaces in deance of laws against loitering after sunset and before sunrise. We argued that the only way in which women might nd unconditional access to public space was if everyone, including those who were not necessarily friendly to women also had unconditional access (Phadke et al 2011). Subsequently in conversations with feminist activists, particularly those who work with young women, we have been challenged several times on the grounds that everyone loitering includes even those others (often young men) who intimidate young women and inhibit their access, thus in fact restricting their mobility. In this paper I attempt to think through questions of justice in access to public space. It is unnecessary to point out that men have more access than women, the rich have more access than the poor or indeed that the very aspiration of becoming a global city is based on the exclusion of those who do not t in. I will attempt both to respond to the very real questions raised by feminist activists in relation to loitering as well as
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locate them in a context where public spaces are shrinking for everyone. The rst section traces competing claims to public space in cities. The second section focuses on the idea of the unfriendly body asking why some bodies are considered more unfriendly than others. The third section asks the question: what makes for friendly/unfriendly cities? Using the illustrative cases of Singapore and Mumbai it reects on the trade-off between safety and loitering. The fourth section engages the desire to access the city despite its hostility. This paper engages multiple questions: What does it mean to stake an equal claim for all to loiter in public space? How does one engage with the threat posed by one group of such loiterers to another potential group of loiterers? How does one understand claim staking in a context where city public spaces are surveillanced and policed? What are the claims of different kinds of bodies and how can we arrive at an idea of justice that at least attempts to address the claims of as many different groups as possible? In thinking through the notion of unfriendliness of bodies, spaces and cities, I attempt to make a case for women and others to make choices to access a city which is perceived as hostile without being censured for it and to continue an argument on why loitering offers the possibility of rewriting the city as a more inclusive, diverse and pleasurable city.
1 Competing Claims to Public Space

The post-16 December Delhi protests focused on young men and one saw a number of posters which exhorted us to teach men not to rape. The fact that the perpetrators of the brutal sexual assault leading to the death of the victim were a bus driver, two cleaners, a fruit vendor and an assistant gym instructor drew attention to lower class men in cities marking them for surveillance. The unemployed status of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack will only endorse the need for such surveillance. Even as the protests raged, prime minister, Manmohan Singh urged the police to increase surveillance of footloose migrants.5 In Mumbai, migrants have long been seen as perpetrators of violence.6 Parochial politicians have already raised the outsiders bogey in response to the 22 August attack. This kind of prejudiced representation is not new and is not restricted to media reports. For instance, there is a particular way in which lower class women and men are cast in particularly development discourse since the 1970s the former as potentially ideal subjects of development aid and the latter as almost lost causes, men who are often violent, unemployed and dominate women, reective of everything that is wrong with developing countries. In these narratives of development, almost unvaryingly men are cast as the problem and women as the victims. These are also seen in the context of narratives around micronance where women are seen as good borrowers that is a good risk as opposed to men. This is true not only in India but across the world.7 This vision of the lower-class man as an obstacle to progress is one that is reected in the media as well.
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Uma Chakravarti (2000) analyses a television serial titled Naya Zamana (New World):
we have the full assemblage of stereotypes: the central character naturally is a bai who is upright and tries to live honestly. Her husband is a brutal male we have seen no poor upright men in a long time who whiles away his time in a drunken stupor when he is not engaged in beating his wife, or harassing his stepdaughter. ...Such images then feed into middle class perspectives on poverty and morality which are distributed in inverse proportion among the different classes; if the poor are poor it is because the lower class male is so irresponsible (p WS15).

As I have argued elsewhere, the exclusion of women from public space cannot be seen in isolation but is linked critically to the exclusion of other marginal citizens. The person(s) who are seen to pose the risk are men of a certain class and occupation (or lack thereof). Safety for women then has become increasingly about emptying the streets of other marginal citizens deemed to be a threat to women. At the top of this list is the lower-class male (also often unemployed, often lower caste or Muslim), but sex workers, bar dancers and others seen to be in need of surveillance also qualify. In this politics, both those seen as the threat and those perceived to be in danger are rendered illegitimate users of public space. I have argued that their claims to public space are not competing but rather need to be coterminous if they are to be successful (Phadke 2007). This is not to suggest however, that we need a collective multimovement for access to public space but that each act of claiming of public space must acknowledge the rights of others to that space. When we engage with violence in relation to claims on the city, it is important to see violence against women in public as being located alongside violence against the poor, Muslims, dalits, hawkers, sex workers and bar dancers. Addressing the question of womens access to public space then means engaging with realities of layered exclusion and multiple marginalisations: the exclusion of the poor, dalits, Muslims, or indeed hawkers and sex workers are not acts of benevolence towards women but part of larger more complex processes where one group of the marginalised is set against another (Phadke et al 2011). How does one understand the complex politics of gender in these situations when it intersects with the reality that today, the middle classes are even more privileged in access to public space and other resources than ever before, and this includes middle-class women, however limited their access might be. Feminist and other gender-based responses to womens restricted access to public space have also often identied men as the source of threat in the public. The presence of middle-class women as vocal advocates of womens right to public space, has acquired some visibility in the last two years buttressed by the processes of globalisation where women especially as consumers and professionals are an extremely desirable part of the cityscape. In the Indian context, initiatives like the Blank Noise project, the Pink Chaddi campaign, Hollaback Mumbai, Hollaback Chennai and the Slutwalks in some cities have raised important questions from the perspective of competing access to
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public space. The Blank Noise project initiated rst as a student project which grew into a much larger artist-activist endeavour encouraging women to talk back by claiming I never ask for it, or to participate in street performances has been critiqued by some as being located in a gaze where middle-class women accuse lower-class men of sexual harassment. Similarly, the Pink Chaddi campaign and the Slutwalk have been accused of being elitist and relevant only to a small minority of urban women. I would argue that feminism has space for all kinds of protests and claim staking and the question of relevance itself is an irrelevant one. One does not have to point out that women across classes have very different access to space and spatial resources. The question is, how do these initiatives resonate with women from different classes who may have very different senses of entitlement. Who can talk back to whom and when? Who can take photographs of whom? What are the politics of legitimacy and rightful citizenship that operate in this claim staking?
2 Unfriendly Bodies and Hostile Cities

It is villages and the countryside which are invoked in images of tranquillity. Cities are often seen as spaces of noise, dust, speed and worse, as locations of vice and violence. The city then is the space of excitement rather than calmness, of risk rather than safety. In recent years cities across the world have developed policies and committees in an attempt to protect themselves from natural disasters and acts of human violence. In acknowledgement of an ever present terror threat, in some cities there is a constant assessment of risk and danger levels, especially at airports and other such sites.8 This apparent danger, often perceived as a danger to life, does not prevent people from venturing out into public space in cities. In Mumbai, the relatively high attendance at workplaces following terror attacks or natural disasters has often been lauded and seen as a measure of its resilience. So why is it that any perception of threat, even unfriendliness, produces a range of effects that suggest women should stay away from public space?9,10 Given that public space is classed, communalised and caste(d) along with being gendered, how can we understand the different modes of speech and the possibility of this being seen (whether intended or unintended) as unfriendly speech? At the same time, it is also worth reecting on young men who are often seen in the discourse on safety as merely undesirable bodies. What is it about unfriendly bodies that makes it impossible for women to co-inhabit space with them? Do women then never access spaces where there are unfriendly bodies present? What does it mean to be loitering or to even desire to loiter in hostile cities with unfriendly speech/bodies present? What are the consequences of suggesting those unfriendly bodies should not be there? In this section I use the prism of the notion of unfriendly bodies as a way of looking at questions of hostility in public space. How does one understand the notion of the unfriendly body? What are unfriendly bodies and to
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whom are they unfriendly? What are the risks posed by a variety of unfriendly bodies to each other and to the body of the city itself? Who are the bodies who are a threat to the citybody? And most relevantly in this case, does public space hold the possibility for unfriendly bodies to coexist?
Multiple Bodies in Public Space

I would like to mention here the idea that part of the problem of multiple bodies in public space is about the possibilities it creates for the mixing of ought-to-be-unmixable bodies across caste, class or religion; the anxiety of bodies that ought to be unfriendly, becoming friendly or worse, intimate.11 If we were to locate this understanding within the context of risk, one might say that many women are horribly unsafe at home, a space often of unfriendly bodies and speech and yet we do not stop women from being there. In fact we urge them to be in that very space. What if we were to cast the presence of unfriendly bodies in this same light? Is it possible for us to think of unfriendly bodies as being a hazard of public space rather than a deterrent? It is also important to notice that cities are not relentlessly unfriendly but rather move from being friendly to unfriendly depending on various contextual and situational factors, including among other things, temporality, crowds, lighting, and availability of infrastructure and amenities such as transport and toilets. Is it possible to conceive of the city as an intermittently unfriendly space to be negotiated? What if antagonism in public space were naturalised? What if women were to desire to access city public spaces, despite their hostility? For women, particularly young women, sexual harassment is a form of unfriendliness different from other kinds of hostility, and has the power to generate extreme anxiety. It is important, however, to note that there is also an acute awareness among women that this harassment is not only about the moment of harassment but about how they are perceived in a more complex way as being good or bad girls. One discussion we had with a group of young men and women from a non-governmental organisation (NGO) near Dharavi suggested that a set of arbitrary codes distinguish good girls from bad girls which inects who gets harassed and how much. There were loud disagreements which suggested that there is no consensus on this. Responding to sexual harassment verbally may stem the harassment or escalate it. Reusing a street on which one had been harassed might be taken to mean a tolerance of or even desire for such verbal harassment. There was no foolproof way for women to convey that they did not enjoy the attention (Phadke 2005). When one talks to young women about their fears of sexual harassment in public space, they tellingly articulate less a fear of physical harm than the anxiety that by continuing to access these spaces where they are sexually harassed, they are in fact courting a risk to their reputations. That their presence on streets where sexual harassment is likely reects a certain kind of unbecoming boldness which indicates their unsuitability for an arranged marriage. They fear partly the young men but also the community who will talk thus cementing their reputations, or more accurately, lack thereof.
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When we raised the question of unfriendly bodies at a workshop in Pune in August 2011, and talked about the dilemmas posed by pitting the rights of young men against those of young women in public space, one group articulated the argument that unfriendly bodies include not just the young men who might pass comments but also neighbourhood aunties who would pass other kinds of, equally discomting comments.12 This immediately complicates our understanding of who constitute unfriendly bodies in public space, as also our perception of deterrents to loitering. Here it is worth reecting on the smooth elision whereby the young men who are admittedly a source of discomfort to the young women are sought to be taken off the streets while the aunties and their equally threatening presence (certainly to reputation) and therefore to womens access to the public only acquire more legitimacy. This argument, while it does not offer any solutions, does allow us to reect on the notion that it is only some unfriendly bodies that are rendered illegitimate and not others which ironically acquire even greater legitimacy as the upholders of morality or are at the very least seen as benign (if gossipy) presences. Their very real role in actually restricting young womens mobility in and access to the public is rarely the subject of debate. Here one might be tempted to argue that the sexualised gaze may be perceived, even experienced, as more immediately threatening than the moral-policing of the aunties and this may well be the case. This does not, however, in any way undermine the argument that there are different kinds of unfriendly bodies who contribute to womens restricted access to public space. The social gure of the perpetrator of sexual harassment is layered and complicated by a lm produced by Askhara (a womens resource centre) titled Jor Se Bol, an anti-street-sexualharassment lm.13 The documentary subverts the process of othering since the lmmakers knew some of the men seen hanging out at street corners in the documentary. This not only immeasurably complicates our understanding of the male unfriendly body but also places him rmly as an agential subject. In a thoughtful blogpost on the Delhi gang rape, Kamayani Sharma (2012) points out that as a middle-class young woman who has migrated to one of the metropolises, she has had to rely on strangers, men to help me nd accommodation in the least shady neighbourhoods, move into said accommodation, repair my lavatory, x sockets and bring me home in their rickshaws and taxis at odd hours. She points out that all of these men were working class and less educated. From the train driver who scared off a drunken beggar hauling himself next to me on the last Churchgate-Virar, the rickshaw driver who asked me if I was sure about going alone down the dark path that led to my room or the tempowala-turned-friend who helped me bring home my refrigerator from the station after midnight for free.14 This layered narrative complicates our understanding of the urban lower-class male. Another gure, strangely a gure of authority, the policeman is also seen as an unfriendly body, especially after dark. Young women often recount that they have been instructed
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not to approach policemen on the street to ask for directions or any other kind of help. One young woman was told by her father as she was learning to drive to never stop even if a cop agged her down. She was instructed that they would deal with whatever problem it was later on but as a lone woman driver, she should simply drive on. Stories of violence committed by the police only buttress these narratives. There are multiple ways of complicating the discussion on unfriendly bodies. One is to think through the range of bodies in public space that might be constructed as unfriendly so that the discussion is more complex and nuanced rather than identifying the lower-class male as the single villain of the piece. Another is to think through the possibility of populating public space with friendly bodies whose presence might counter the threat perceived to be emanating from unfriendly bodies. This of course is a partly academic exercise but might also hold possibilities for thinking about how we might envisage an ideal composition of public space such that it will be inclusive in a general sense and more particularly gender friendly and welcoming to women across class, caste, community and ability. It is also important to record that it is not only individuals who render spaces unfriendly contexts such as empty streets, design factors such as enclosed footpaths which have no escape route and the lack of infrastructural facilities like transport, toilets, adequate street lighting but also contribute to the creation of unfriendly spaces. Cities need not, and should not, be hostile and unfriendly spaces because of a lack of infrastructural facilities. Good public transport, for instance, is central to facilitating access to the city and the provision of 24hour public transport would go a long way in making cities friendlier (Phadke 2012). I would argue that the sexual assault that took place in the privately run Whiteline bus could not have happened in a BEST bus in Mumbai because the checks and balances that operate in a public sector company would make it virtually impossible to take a BEST bus out for a joyride.15 Also contrary to popular assumption, shutting bars and restaurants early do not make cities safer. The more the number of people out on the streets at night the safer the streets.16 Can we begin to think about street violence in more comprehensive and complex ways not only as something men do to women but also as emanating from the structures of power itself as well as operating on multiple axes gender, class, caste and religion, as also infrastructure (or lack thereof) and design?
3 Friendly Cities, Unfriendly Cities

In 2008, along with my colleagues Shilpa Ranade and Sameera Khan, I was invited to participate in the International Symposium of Electronic Arts that was held in Singapore as part of an artists-in-residence programme.17 In this section, I reect on four short but intense weeks of living in and thinking about loitering in Singapore in 2008 and juxtapose these thoughts with our research in Mumbai. As someone who grew up in a city that wanted to be Singapore, the idea of the super clean city-state was part of my imagined cityscape of the world. Arriving in Singapore, Ranade and I were taken aback to arrive at a degree of comfort in
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navigating and negotiating the city, its transport and its idiosyncrasies within two days. Within another two days we had our work in place. We were aided in the creation of part of our installation by a group of students at the National University of Singapore.18 Our media installation titled Gendered Strategies for Loitering, aimed to question some of the underlying assumptions about public space and gender in both Singapore and Mumbai, raising questions about the possibilities for loitering. Both cities have similar colonial throwback legislation allowing the police to arrest suspicious loiterers after sunset and before sunrise. Through the idea of loitering, the installation attempted to ask questions about pleasure, risk, and citizenship. The work included a new-media game inviting the audience to loiter in a street in Mumbai. This was complemented by time-lapse video footage of three locations each in Mumbai and Singapore and an audio commentary that engaged with the gendered inhabitation of public spaces in the two cities. In the time-lapse videos, a camera placed on tripod shot half a second every 30 seconds creating an audiovisual document that attempted to map the movements of people in that space. In Mumbai we shot at the Holi Maidan in Dharavi, Shivaji Park in Dadar and Carter Road in Bandra. In Singapore, we shot at the Padang, an open playing eld in central Singapore sometimes used for National Day parades, in an open square in an Housing Development Board (HDB) complex in China town, and in an open space, near the Jurong East Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) railway station that many people used to walk through. In Mumbai, the Holi Maidan was occupied mostly by young boys playing while older men stood aroud a liquor bar at the edge of the ground. The Shivaji Park was full of different groups of boys playing cricket, other people including women and college girls walking through and often heading towards a temple at the edge of the park while varied others were seen walking along the periphery of the park or sitting on the low wall which marks its boundary.19 We shot a section of Carter Road from a high-rise building nding that often people walked along this road but rarely paused to loiter. In Singapore, there was a football game going on in the Padang, and many different groups of tourists came in to photograph themselves against the backdrop. In the HDB in Chinatown once again people moved in and out of the square we were shooting and only twice did anyone stop to chat. Along the path in Jurong East, people moved with the rapidity of commuters heading home after work. In this fairly large maidan, nobody loitered. While shooting in Mumbai we inevitably encountered a crowd following us with a dozen questions. In Singapore, where both of us were obviously foreigners, we expected more questions, only to be completely ummoxed when none, absolutely none, were forthcoming. It seemed to us as if their lack of curiosity held within it a sense of lack of claim. This strange city bafed us even as it offered us an experience of previously unmatched efciency and productivity. This was a city where as a woman one felt a sense of comfort, where one did not have to plan ones clothing (in an effort to avoid sexual harassment)
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and one could wander around at night without needing to strategise about how to get back home. The public toilets got us to pull out our cameras, so beautiful and well designed were they. Singapore bafed us, because despite its safety and comfort, nobody loitered. The women were out there as much as the men, in their short-shorts, head-scarves and salwar-kameezes, often late into the night. Yet, if we looked carefully, nobody loitered. Not the women, not the men. Nobody loitered outside the segregated spaces for loitering the void decks, the hawkers centres, and of course needless to say, the malls. Even the loitering behaviour of the foreigners appeared segregated and contained and most migrant workers would head for one or another mall on their Sundays off.20 People might walk in deance of the demarcated pathways, as Gunalan Nadarajan, non-resident Singaporean and curator of the exhibition pointed out to us,21 or use complaint and humour as a form of articulating dissent, especially in the anonymous space of the internet as Selvaraj Veluthan (2004) has argued; but any subversion appeared to end there. The city was not anonymous enough to allow for more. The glorious lighting that made it so much safer for people to use the streets also had the effect of rendering everyone visible. In Mumbai, at least some men loiter. They stand at corner tea stalls sipping cutting-chai (a half-glass of strong tea) and relax indolently at paan-shops, smoking. Often many marginal men: manual workers, taxi and rickshaw drivers and those we call taporis in Mumbai (people who have no apparent work/ employment) and occasionally students too are part of this group. Women, with the exception of students in the vicinity of their college campuses, are discouraged from loitering on the streets. However, because men loiter and because the streets are complex mazes of people and objects and often because the energies of the city public spaces are dispersed confusingly and unpredictably, it is actually possible for women to imagine loitering. To imagine slipping into the interstices of public spaces unnoticed and unremarked; left to forge ones own connection however tenuous with the city. To subvert the desires of the city for regulation and order and to know that one is safe from recognition in the amorphous, anarchic city. Though this possibility of anonymously slipping into the city falls very short of any kind of political claim, it nonetheless is signicant in its approximation of the pleasures of loitering in city public space. If at all one sees women obviously hanging out in Mumbai, it is only in the new spaces of consumption that one sees them performing masquerades of anerie and loitering; window shopping and strolling along the gleaming vitried oors enjoying the illusion of the pleasure of the public. The malling behaviour of middle-class women might provide a clue to understanding why nobody loiters in Singapore. As we walked down Orchard Road in Singapore, the undisputed queen of retail districts, it felt like the entire city seemed to draw on the texture of this mall-dotted road. Orchard Road symbolises the life and pleasures of the city, and most people whom we asked what we should do in Singapore pointed us in its direction. It seemed to us then that in some ways the entire city had been rendered private. One might conjecture that the safety
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we felt in Singapore could be compared to the sense of safety the consumer citizen felt in a mall in Mumbai, for instance.22 The lack of claim staking we sensed in people might be attributed to this the notion that it all belonged to the privatised state that was responsible for its upkeep. Citizens were merely users/consumers, not co-owners. One might argue that like in the malls the illusion of public space is performed repetitively so that the lines between public and private appear to blur without affecting the reality that these are private spaces, controlled and under surveillance.23 In one sense Singapore is the culmination of everything Mumbai city planners want, both rhetorically and literally: a city of clean lines, sparkling buildings where people usually stay in the areas they are supposed to, conforming to the omniscient vision of the planners. In Mumbai, the thrust of all new development is towards cleansing the city, of removing the undesirables from the visible body of the city. Womens safety, or to be more specic, middle- and upper-class womens safety, is similarly premised on the removal of lower-class and minority men from public spaces. In another, more tentative vein, I would like to reect briey on the responses of two expatriate women who had been living in Singapore for some years when we met them. They separately pointed out that while Singapore is largely free of street sexual harassment, it was also devoid of sexual possibilities in public. A part of the excitement of public spaces is the anticipation of meeting someone interesting, of a irtation or just the thrill of that momentary frisson one feels exchanging glances of mutual attraction without necessarily acting on it. The loss of such sexual possibilities is difcult to quantify and only two women expressed this sentiment without prompting, though several others concurred when asked. While this is far from a representative sample it is nonetheless important to ask, what are the various possibilities that are lost when public space is devoid of surprise, excitement, and yes, even risk.24 When one thinks of safety in a city and the idea of a friendly city, Singapore qualies. However, the unanswerable question that we are faced with is one that we have read in the subtext of many of the conversations we have had with women in Singapore and Mumbai how does one speak to the choice between personal freedom and safety?
Loitering and Safety

In public space terms, how do we weigh the uncertain pleasures of loitering against the certainty of safety? What is the trade-off between street pleasures and the seated comfort of a hawkers centre? To what extent would we be willing to trade the pleasure of unexpected discoveries of the new hawker round the street, the anarchic street life, the spaces that nobody can see, for the monitored guarantee of safety? What are the relative values of freedom and comfort? The choice between freedom and comfort is a complicated one, especially when it comes to safety. What does it mean to desire to access spaces that may be hostile? What does this mean for risk and strategising? Of course we cannot wait until all streets are safe but do we
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even imagine they will ever be safe, given that not even our homes are safe. If they are to be safe then does this mean they will also inevitably be sanitised? Are there other possibilities that we might consider other than one where the city becomes an extension of the mall? A space perhaps not as seductively friendly, but a space that might offer both the possibility of coexistence as well the possibility of articulating not just dissent but also staking a claim to city public spaces?
4 Friendliness and the Street

Streets are spaces where people make claims. Streets are also spaces where these claims are shot down. Streets are spaces of surveillance and spaces of fear. They are also spaces of excitement and thrills. How might one imagine a street utopia, if indeed such a thing exists? Or in other words, how might one mobilise the varied dynamics of the street in the quest of a more liberatory politics. In the early 1960s urban writer Jane Jacobs wrote:
The tolerance, the room for great differences among neighbours differences that often go far deeper than differences of colour are possible and normal in intensely urban life, streets of great cities have built-in equipment allowing strangers to dwell in peace together on civilised but essentially dignied and reserved terms, lowly, unpurposeful and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a citys wealth of public life may grow (Jacobs 1961).

The question then is how can one foster tolerance and coexistence even in the presence of such hostility or fear? Would the presence of (other) friendly or even neutral bodies allow for a mutual coexistence? What kinds of spaces would enable friendly bodies to act in solidarity? One of the factors that set Mumbai apart from other megacities in India is the lack of planning and concomitant separation of function. The lack of formal order which often emanates from zoning is what allows for a more varied interaction in public space. This means that there are different kinds of bodies inhabiting public space and the likelihood is that not all of these will be perceived as hostile. The presence of the others friendly or neutral I would like to suggest, creates greater possibilities for those who are perceived to be hostile to each other to coexist. Before going further it is important to ask the question: What are friendly bodies? In my understanding, friendly bodies would render a space more accessible generally making it easier to inhabit public space. In interviews, women articulated certain kinds of people as friendly presences on the street. These included other women in general, college students, pedestrians going about their business. Our research suggests that the presence of hawkers often renders streets friendlier. For instance, the roads alongside the Hutatma Chowk in Fort used to have many street booksellers. In 2005, the booksellers were removed and only a few remained at one corner. This transformed what was a friendly street for women commuters to walk down even after dark into one which was much less so. Not only does the presence of hawkers contribute to womens access by bringing people onto the streets, adding the street lighting and providing eyes in the street but in a
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more general way is reective of the right to be in public. The recent efforts to boot hawkers off the streets in Mumbai are therefore also counterproductive for women.25 Often young women pointed to Bandra as the suburb of Mumbai that they would all want to live in for its acknowledgement of the professional woman, but also for its busy crowded streets even late into the night. Two women, by no means a statistically signicant number, but nonetheless worth recounting, made the observation, that in Bandra even the presence of the sex worker is not anxiety inducing. They are simply co-users of the street. I am interested in thinking through what makes this coexistence possible. Does the sex worker not sexualise these particular streets? What makes the streets impervious to such sexualisation? Alternatively, what might make such sexualisation acceptable? Are there multiple layers of sexualisation on some of these streets? I would like to risk suggesting here that the more complex and multidimensional a space, the more comfortable it is likely to be for women. Another interesting narrative came from a young undergraduate student at a book reading. She identied herself as a sportsperson, and said that in the neighbourhood where she lives in Vashi there are women hanging out, even loitering rather late into the night. Young women and young men are out on the streets, sometimes together but also separately and there are a fair number of them. The number of young women allowed out at night is growing. While she suggests a specic sense of her own identity of that as a woman and a sportsperson which perhaps had implications for how she experienced and inhabited her own body and its capacities, it is nonetheless interesting to reect on the possibilities such narratives have for thinking about friendlier, more accessible public spaces. The Blank Noise projects recent initiative, Talk to Me, reects on the question of how to make cities friendlier. One evening they set up ve tables and two chairs on a street in Bangalore where sexual harassment often takes place. Volunteers sat at these tables and invited strangers to talk with them.26 The idea was to build a dialogue across gender and class divides. This initiative offers one way of thinking about the politics of public space. Such initiatives valuable though they are in furthering our engagement with the ideologies of space cannot but be occasional performances and are thus out of the everyday. However the idea of setting up sitting spaces is one that has been proved to invite more people to hang out in public space. What if more streets had such spaces inviting all kinds of people to sit, chat and hang out? I would argue that the creation of more spaces to hang out, thus legitimising this loitering would transform streets making them busier, occupied by a variety of different groups and therefore friendlier. In our research on womens access to public space in Mumbai, a number of people suggested that among the factors that contributed to making a space safe were a certain level of crowds, open shops and in general a sense of activity. Women often pointed out that there is an optimum level of people or crowds in real sense strangers, who best facilitate access. Too few people would make the streets appear deserted and therefore not very safe. Too many people (think rush hour at
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Churchgate station in Mumbai) would provide more opportunities for sneaking in a pinch or a grab of valuables without being caught and so one has to be careful. To my mind this notion of the optimum suggests that there are enough people to make you feel comfortable but not so many that it makes you uncomfortable. If one thinks through this idea of the optimum number of people one might be closer to understanding the notion of mutual coexistence in public space with strangers who are perceived as being a mixture of friendly, neutral and unfriendly. I use the verb perceived to underscore that the categorisation of bodies into friendly and unfriendly has more to do with us and the way we see than with any objective reality or fact. Reecting on these cases, it becomes increasingly clear that the solution to the restrictions on the loitering of young women is not to restrict the loitering by young men, or indeed anyone else. However, conditions must be facilitated within which more friendly bodies can be part of these public spaces. While some bodies may be perceived as unfriendly, their right to space needs to be acknowledged, without them becoming the reason why young women cannot be in public space. The idea of strangers friendly, neutral and even unfriendly peopling ones landscape is not a new one. Georg Simmel (1908) in his seminal essay on the stranger suggested that most forms of social interaction involve engaging with strangeness. The stranger for Simmel is not the unknown outsider from another planet (as it were) but someone who though he does not belong to the group is known to it. The stranger, like the poor and like sundry inner enemies, is an element of the group itself. His position as a full-edged member involves both being outside it and confronting it. The stranger then in Simmels understanding is a part of our world. He suggests that the stranger who is really strange has to be rendered notquite-human so not to be regarded as part of the group at all. Michael Warner (2002) reects on stranger-sociability arguing that
In modern society, a stranger is not as marvelously exotic as the wandering outsider would have been in an ancient, medieval, or early modern town. In that earlier social order, or in contemporary analogues, a stranger is mysterious, a disturbing presence requiring resolution. In the context of a public, however, strangers can be treated as already belonging to our world.

her acquaintance with them, many undergraduate students in a workshop in Mumbai in 2011 said friends. This categorisation is important in framing our understanding of the stranger on the street and to thinking through the ways in which we engage with people locating them in categories based often not on our own experience with them, but where they stand in our larger constellation of social contracts.28 Here it might be relevant to engage with the work of feminist philosopher, Iris Marion Young. Young (1995) suggests that the ideal of city life is not communities, for communities by their very nature are exclusive, but a vision of social relations as afrming group difference which would allow for different groups to dwell together in the city without forming a community. She argues that reactions to city life that call for local, decentralised, autonomous communities reproduce the problems of exclusion. Instead, Young imagines a city life premised on difference that allows groups and individuals to overlap without becoming homogeneous. Young uses the term heterogeneous public life engaging in a debate on justice, community life and the politics of difference. She argues that justice in a group-differentiated society demands social equality of groups, and mutual recognition and afrmation of group differences (p 191, 1990 quoted in Callard 2011: 485). Youngs arguments displace the idea of community with the ideal of (c)ity life as an openness to unassimilated otherness (p 227, 1990 quoted in Callard 2011: 485). If following Young, we were to construct public space as more generally unfriendly, a space to be negotiated rather than welcomed into, would competing claims to public space look different? If we give up our warm and fuzzy notions of the public, would young womens access to public space be built on different assumptions? If we stopped accepting sanitised, deodorised spaces as a substitute, would our claim to public space be articulated differently? If we claim not the right to safe public spaces but the right to negotiate violence in public space in the same way that we do in other spaces such as the home, how would this transform our engagement with public space?
Imagining (Unconventional) Utopias

In April 2009 a young international female student in Mumbai was drugged and sexually assaulted by six acquaintances. She had gone out with the accused youth, whom she had met once before as her friends friends, and another female friend to a suburban bar. After the female friend left, the woman student continued to hang out with the male friends at the bar and at their insistence drank alcohol. Later she accompanied them to the apartment of another of their male friend where she was assaulted while she was unconscious.27 This young woman was sometimes cast as stupid for going out late at night with these strangers. How does one categorise people as friends and strangers? When asked whether they would categorise the accused as friends or strangers in relation to the young woman and
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We are sometimes asked so how will you operationalise loitering? How indeed? It is important that we keep on asserting and reasserting the value of wandering aimlessly and hanging out on the streets without purpose as a means of claiming not just citizenship but the right to fun. Can we imagine a city that allows the people, the public to nd their/our own public to create our own spaces to hang out as we please, where we please without the threat of being on the wrong side of the law. It is ironic to be in a city where globalisation has made some kinds of risks such as those related to international nance legitimate while rendering the everyday risks of hanging out on the streets questionable. I conclude with the image of a loitering space that I am familiar with. Near the campus where I teach in an unremarkable eastern suburb of Mumbai is a space where diverse people appear to loiter. There are a number of shops ranging from a chemist, to a clothing boutique to a hardware shop, a car rental
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service and several closed shops that once housed groceries, ATMs and the like. Rumour has it that only the chemist makes money the other shop spaces are supposedly unlucky. The shops are at an elevation of about four or ve feet which means a long ledge of steps ideal for people to sit on. There is a taxi stand and an awning under a peepal tree where the taxi drivers sit and play cards, and in my personal though certainly not representative experience they often refuse fares and prefer to continue their card game. There is a bus depot across the road and bus conductors and drivers frequent this space and can often be seen laughing and back-slapping each other. Students and faculty hang out here at odd hours often (though not necessarily) escaping from the no smoking zone of the campus. There is a chai stall, a vada pav (a snack popular in Mumbai) stall and a paan-shop at the edges of a nalla that is currently being built over. In fact, usually, there is some digging or lling activity sponsored variously by the electricity, telephone, cooking gas or internet cable companies or the water and sanitation departments. Students, faculty, taxi drivers, bus and other drivers, bus conductors, construction workers engaged in digging the
Notes
1 There are several examples that make this case. One is the Marine Drive rape case in 2005 where a constable raped a college student. Another is the New Years Eve 2008 incident where a mob of men molested two women in Juhu. A third is the December 2012 Delhi gang rape and most recently the Mumbai attack. All of these received wide press coverage for several days and were accompanied by public outrage. 2 For instance, in the 2006 case involving Abhishek Kasliwal was followed by the media

roads all frequent this space. Friends, romantic couples, colleagues, and strangers smoke, drink cutting chai and chew tobacco as they sit or stand and chat animating this space long after it is dark. They move in an intricate layered dance and rarely interact with each other. But day after day in the kind of visceral everyday practice that Michel de Certeau wrote of and the kind of implicit treating of strangers as already belonging to a larger cityscape that Michael Warner suggested, these different kinds of people co-inhabit this space. I do not want to exoticise or romanticise this space, though perhaps it may appear as if I am doing exactly that. I am acutely aware that a large number of the middle and upper-middle class bodies inhabiting this space belong to my workplace and these bodies transform the space as only a space outside a campus may be transformed. Interestingly, it is hardly an aesthetically welcoming space it is often dusty, noisy and one is frequently in danger of being run over. Yet this space of transient strangers offers a strange kind of hope that friendly and unfriendly cities are not really binaries and it is possible to imagine new ways of engaging both.
should stay home and that they are only asking for trouble. (Abhishek Bhalla and G Vishnu (2012), The Rapes Will Go On, Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 15, 14 April, http://archive.tehelka. com/story_main52.asp? lename =Ne140412 Coverstory.asp, accessed on 1 March 2013). 5 PM Warns of Footloose Migrants from Rural Areas, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 27 December 2012. (http://www.hindustantimes.com/ India-news/NewDelhi/PM-warns-of-footloosemigrants-from-rural-areas/Article1-981257.aspx, accessed on 14 January 2013.)

until it appeared that the victim was a sex worker, after which the coverage died down as did the case itself. Most recently the police have thus far failed to arrest Asaraam Bapu who has been accused of raping a minor girl. 3 Soumya Murder: Sheila in Dock over Remarks, The Indian Express, New Delhi, 2 October 2008, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/soumya -murder-sheila-in-dock-over-remarks/368692/ accessed on 12 January 2013. 4 The Delhi and National Capital Region police in particular have been quoted as saying women

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6 After the incident on New Years Eve 2008, discussed earlier, without awaiting any evidence, outsiders, specically north Indian men were cast as the culprits responsible for disrespecting women and giving Mumbai a bad name by the Shiv Sena. The implication clearly was remove these men from our city and our women will be safe. Ironically, at least half the suspects who were apprehended turned out to be Marathi-speaking young men. Migrants Are Defaming City: Uddhav Says Sena Will Not Tolerate Atrocities against Women, Daily News & Analysis, 5 January 2008, http://www. dnaindia.com/mumbai/1143275/report-migrantsare-defaming-city-uddhav, accessed on 2 January 2013). 7 Similar analyses in the African contexts point out that While research on women since the 1970s accumulated deep insights into the implications of socio-economic change, poverty and increasing workloads for African women, similar insights on men were not documented. In attempts to make African womens work visible some analyses slipped into representing African rural men as not doing very much at all (Whitehead 2000). 8 Saskia Sassen (2010) argues that unlike earlier when countries go to war today, cities become a key frontline space (p 34). This takes place even outside of wars in the form of bombings and other kinds of attacks. She suggests that asymmetric war, that is war between a conventional army and armed insurgents have located cities as sites of the theatre of war. Sassen quotes the US Department of States Annual Report on Global Terrorism which suggests that from 1993 to 2000, cities accounted for 94% of the injuries resulting from all terrorist attacks, and for 61% of the deaths (p 36). 9 Nor is it just violence that makes us uncomfortable. As I have argued elsewhere, it is only unstructured violence by strangers that raises all kinds of anxieties. Violence at home is pervasive but women are rarely warned about the dangers of the home. Further, violence enacted in the name of preventing public attack is articulated as family honour, protection, and even love. What we need to claim then is the equal right to negotiate violence in public as we do in private (Phadke 2010). 10 Sometimes, it is womens families who place obstacles to loitering, deeming them too risky. One blogger talks about one endeavour among a group of professional women to loiter on a street in Hyderabad and the kinds of restrictions that came up (Bolar, Suman, The Importance of Loitering, http://www.talkingcranes.com/ In%20the%20news/the-importance-of-loitering, accessed on 15 May 2013). 11 The large numbers of cases of honour killings, various diktats by community groups against jeans, mobile phones and even headgear worn on two-wheelers bear this out. 12 Interestingly in the wake of the 16 December 2012 Delhi gang rape, an article on the internet addressed the neighbourhood Aunty exhorting them not to moralise or pass judgment on Girls of These Days. (Shridhar Sadasivan, A Letter to the Neighbourhood Aunty from the Girls of These Days , 30 December 2012, http://www.womensweb.in/2012/12/girls-ofthese-days/, accessed on 15 January 2013.) 13 Here is a link to an excerpt from the lm, Jor Se Bol: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=EO M6M9uUYy8 14 Sharma Kamayani (2012), Not Your Ma Behen: A Nation of Victims, 27 December http://ultraviolet.in/2012/12/27/not-your-maa-behen-anation-of-victims/ accessed on 2 January 2013. 15 Of course assaults of various kinds have taken place on the surburban railway network in Mumbai.
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16 See for instance this news item on shutting down of such spaces: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/verify-all-school-buses-close-discotheques-by-1-am-in-delhi-government-panel/ 1/241512.html, accessed on 1 April 2013. 17 More information on this work is available here: http://www.isea2008singapore.org/exhi bitions/air_gendered.html 18 This group of students were guided by a very engaged faculty, Alex Mitchell and we are grateful to him and his students. 19 Our research on parks in Mumbai suggested that Shivaji Park was one of the most friendly and accessible parks for its lower wall, its hawkers at the edges and the fact that it was populated late into the night (Phadke et al 2011). 20 In the few weeks that we were there in 2008, different groups could be found in specic malls. For instance, Filipina maids congregated in Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road; Bangaldeshi construction workers tended to occupy the street and the open ground on Serangoon Road near Mustafa; the Chinese migrants headed to Chinatown; the Indonesians occupied City Plaza in Katong; the Thai people went to Golden Mile near Beach Road; and the Myanmar migrants could be found in Peninsula Plaza in City Hall. 21 Personal conversation, July 2008. 22 In a recent piece, Yamini Vasudevan (2012) writes about how safe she felt growing up in Singapore, compared to her life in Chennai. She writes, What would make me safer would be conscientious policemen and women, and all those in power, who would wield their authority in the right way. In Singapore, there was always the condence that if anyone misbehaved with me, at any time, all I had to do was to hail a policeman nearby or rush to the nearest police station. Something would be done I knew that much. And it wouldnt matter whether I was dressed in jeans or shorts. If a complaint was made, action would be taken. And it wasnt just the police bus drivers would stop the bus if someone raised an alarm. I could hop off at train stations and report to the person at the control station. But there was never such a need not in the 16-plus years I lived there. This suggests to me certainly that it is authoritarian structures that are perceived to provide this safety again not unlike in a mall Yamini Vasudevan (2012) Im Envious of Their Freedom, Hindu Business Line, 26 December 2012, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com oncampus/ i-am-envious-of-their-freedom/article4241751.ece, accessed on 26 December 2012. 23 If as Selvaraj Veluthan (2004) suggests Singapore is a state that gives its people the gift of material comfort, it then demands a quid pro quo, in the shape of the disciplined modern citizen; then one might suggest that Mumbai is a city that gives its citizens very little, often not even the certainty of citizenship. This lack of giving and the common acknowledgement of the lack allow people to act in deance of the demands of law and order. For if the state can renege on its promises, what binds the citizens? 24 See Phadke (2007) for an engagement on the desirability of negotiating risk. 25 This has been widely reported in the media. See one such feature article. Arefa Johari, Stalled, Hindustan Times, !3 February 2013, http://www.inclusivecities.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/02/Hindustan_Times_Mumbai 2013-02-03_page13.pdf, accessed on 1 March 2013. See this link for more articles on the issue: http://www.inclusivecities.org/blog/ mu mbai-hawker-evictions/ 26 Sarah Goodyear, Can a Couple of Tables Make Bangalores Rapist Lane Safe Again?, 3 July 2013, http://www.theatlanticcities. com/neighborhoods/2013/07/can-couple-tablesvol xlviii no 39

make-bangalores-rapist-lane-safe-again/6094/, accessed on 8 July 2013. 27 On 6 October 2010 the Sewri Sessions Court in Mumbai acquitted all six accused in the case, citing lack of evidence and the unreliable testimony of the victim. On 29 June 2011, the Bombay High Court upheld acquittal by dismissing the appeal led by the Maharashtra government challenging the earlier verdict of a trial court in the case, citing lack of evidence and the unreliable testimony of the victim. 28 Further, though it is well documented, it is worth reiterating that the largest number of attacks are committed by people known to the victim/survivor.

References
Agnes, Flavia (1992): Protecting Women against Violence-Review of a Decade of Legislation, 1980-89, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 27, No 17, 25 April. Callard, Felicity (2011): Iris Marion Young in Phil Hubbard and Rob Kitchin (ed.), Key Thinkers on Space and Place (London: Sage). Chakravarti, Uma (2000): State, Market and Freedom of Expression in EPW, Vol 35, No 18, 29 April. Jacobs, Jane (1993 (1961)): The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House). Phadke, Shilpa (2005): You Can Be Lonely in a Crowd: The Production of Safety in Mumbai, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol 12, No 1, 41-62. (2007): Dangerous Liaisons: Women and Men; Risk and Reputation in Mumbai in Review of Womens Studies, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol 42, No 17, 1510-18. (2010): If Women Could Risk Pleasure: Reinterpreting Violence in Public Space in Bishakha Datta (ed.), Nine Degrees of Justice: New Perspectives on Violence against Women in India (New Delhi: Zubaan). (2012): Traversing the City: Some Gendered Questions of Access in Mumbai in Nihal Perera and Wing-Shing Tang (ed.), Transforming Asian Cities: Intellectual Impasse, Asianizing Space, and Emerging Translocalities, Routledge. Phadke, Shilpa, Shilpa Ranade and Sameera Khan (2009): Why Loiter? Radical Possibilities for Gendered Dissent in Melissa Butcher and Selvaraj Velayutham (ed.), Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asias Cities (London: Routledge), pp 185-203. Phadke, Shilpa, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade (2011): Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets (New Delhi: Penguin). Sassen, Saskia (2010): When the City Itself Becomes a Technology of War, Theory, Culture & Society (Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore: Sage), Vol 27(6): 33-50. Simmel, Georg (1908) (1976 edition): The Stranger in The Sociology of Georg Simmel (New York: Free Press). Also http://www.infoamerica.org/ documentos_pdf/simmel01.pdf, accessed on 2 April 2012. Veluthan, Selvaraj (2004): Affect, Materiality, and the Gift of Social Life in Singapore in SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Vol 19, No 1. Warner, Michael (2002): Publics and Counter Publics, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Vol 88, No 4: 413-25. Whitehead, A (2000): Continuities and Discontinuities in Political Constructions of the Working Man in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa: the Lazy Man in African Agriculture, European Journal of Development Research, Vol 12, pp 23-52. Young, Iris Marion (1995): City Life and Difference in Phillip Kasinitz (ed), Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Times (New York: New York University Press), 250-70.

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