Journal Article

Gendering the everyday state: Muslim women, claim-making & brokerage in India


Using ethnographic fieldwork, this article focuses on interactions between poor Muslim women, various intermediaries and brokers, and the Indian state. The article illustrates the complexities of claim-making and the forms of subjugation/marginalisation Muslim women experience when attempting to access resources, documents or paperwork. This is further mediated by bureaucratic structures, spatial configurations, urban cosmologies and gender ideologies. Contrary, however, to many representations of Muslim women’s engagements with the state, we also draw out agentive aspects as women hustle and negotiate to make claims and assert citizenship rights. Outcomes are variegated and intersected by socioeconomic and other factors but also incorporate some women in brokerage roles, challenging assumptions regarding state/people mediation in India which foreground male brokers operating through male-dominated networks. These empirical details are situated in a theoretical context incorporating gendered distinctions between imaginaries of ‘nation’ and lived experiences of the ‘everyday state’. While nation is evoked and articulated as a feminine form through evocations of mata (mother) – and supposed characteristics of care, nurture, chastity etc. – the everyday state is experienced as a masculinised formation which acts to entrench degrees of graduated citizenship by amplifying this along gender lines. 

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Ansari, Ayesha
Chambers, Thomas

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-08-24

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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