‘Production of Segregated Spaces in Delhi: Materiality of Culture and Identity’ by Ghazala Jamil

Ghazala Jamil from Jawaharlal Nehru University presented his research entitled ‘Production of Segregated Spaces in Delhi: Materiality of Culture and Identity’ at the Sociological Research Colloquium.

When: Friday, 03rd November 2017 at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Seminar Room (First Floor), Department of Sociology, University of Delhi 


This paper charts out the changes taking place in Muslim neighbourhoods in Jamia Nagar, Seelampur, Old Delhi, and Nizamuddin in Delhi, in the backdrop of rapid urbanization and forces of capitalist globalization. The paper argues that roots of the processes that have an important role to play in maintaining and reproducing this segregation lie in material causes, and that these processes are geared towards capital accumulation. It asserts that while each of a person’s identities has a material function, an aspersed identity has a distinctly oppressive and exploitative material function. Through ethnographic explorations it finds that different classes within Muslims are positioned differentially and that their experiences of the implicit materiality of their identity vary. The tangible and intangible benefits to be accrued out of discriminatory processes make it worthwhile for a system of dominance to resist any changes and maintain itself.

Critically analysing the representation of these segregated spaces, the paper attempts to engage with spatial order imposed by relationships of production in these neighbourhoods when viewed as labour markets and spaces of consumption. Further, drawing from a discussion of production of segregated spaces also as a discursive process the paper asserts that the resultant spatial ‘diversity’ and differentiation among Muslim neighbourhoods, creates an illusion of ‘choice’, but in reality, the flexibility of the confining boundaries only serves to make these stronger and shatter-proof.  

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