Presenting an original take on women’s safety in the cities of twenty-first century India, Why Loiter? Maps the exclusions and negotiations that women from different classes and communities encounter in the nation’s urban public spaces. Basing this book on more than three years of research in Mumbai, Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade argue that though women’s access to urban public space has increased, they still do not have an equal claim to public space in the city. And they raise the question: can women’s access to public space be viewed in isolation from that of other marginal groups? Going beyond the problem of the real and implied risks associated with women’s presence in public, they draw from feminist theory to argue that only by celebrating loitering—a radical act for most Indian women—can a truly equal, global city be created.
Shilpa Phadke is assistant professor at the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She has been educated at St. Xavier’s College, SNDT University, Mumbai and the University of Cambridge, UK.
Sameera Khan is a Mumbai-based journalist and writer. A former assistant editor the Times of India, she teaches journalism at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She has a BA from St Xavier’s College and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University, USA.
Shilpa Ranade trained in architecture from CEPT, Ahmedabad, and has an MA in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies from the University of Arizona, Tucson. She has been associate editor of Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic. She is a partner in the design firm DCOOP in Mumbai.