Monday, June 22, 2015

CPR-CSH Urban Workshop
Listening into Others: An Ethnography of performing self in an Indian Slum
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 at 3:45 p.m.
Tripta Chandola
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The everyday in a slum settlement is Delhi is the focus of this presentation. Here, the author will recount the experiences and encounters of the slum-dwellers in relation to the space at they inhabit at an everyday level to build a consolidated picture of the residents' sense of self and identity. The fulcrum to engage with these experiences is the practice of listening, privileging what, how, when and why the slum-dwellers listen in and into. The matter of agreeing upon listening(s) as a trope of engagement with the slum-dwellers about their everyday was not intentional and strategic; instead whilst 'hanging around' the slums the intent, urgency and anxiety amongst the residents to articulate their sense of selves employing their own referential vocabularies was realised in their listening practices. The paper emphasizes on these listening(s) of the slum-dwellers into their everyday practices, as articulated and complicated by them, to present insights into the wider social, cultural, spatial, emotional, sensorial and political cosmos of the slum, often left unheard and unacknowledged both in the mainstream and academic discourse. Further the paper explores practice and politics of listening as research methodology and a praxis for the slum-dwellers to articulate their sense of selves lends the ethnography the density and depth on account of considering all encompassing multi-sensoriality of the slum settlement instead of merely its visual aspects. By bringing together nuanced experiences of the space, its history and everyday reckoning, the paper presents a vivid and vibrant account of the slum settlement. Whilst the research informing this paper situates the position of the slums within the broader urban ecology affected by economic liberalisation, political movements and evolving cultural practices, it intends to highlight the sub-cultural practices of slum-dwellers negotiating their own space and self amidst these transformations.

Tripta Chandola is an independent researcher and ethnographer based in Delhi. She completed her doctorate from Queensland University of Technology in 2010. She has held research positions at NUS, Singapore and RMIT, Melbourne working with different projects. One of her on-going research engagements is with a slum settlement in Delhi. Here, spanning over a period of a decade she has explored and written about different facets of slum ecology, including but not limited to technological cultures and practices, networks of informal economy and articulation of the 'self' by the residents of the slums.

This is the sixty-fifth in a series of Urban Workshops planned by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on issues relating to the development of the city and try to address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society and politics. For further information, please contact: Rémi de Bercegol at, Partha Mukhopadhyay at or Marie-Hélène Zerah at 

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