Gender, Urban Space, and Everyday Life in the Age of the Delhi Metro, 2002-2018


ACLS Fellowship Program


Sociology and Anthropology


The arrival of the Delhi Metro—an ultramodern urban rail system and South Asia’s first major, multi-line metro—has become a touchstone for discussions of urban development, gendered social mobility, and India’s increasingly aspirational culture. A street-level ethnographic view of the city, this project captures the contradictions inherent in the spread of a globalized middle-class modernity that privileges capital interests in urban planning—the “world-class” city model—vis-à-vis the attempt to equalize the urban experience through infrastructure. The project delves into these contradictions through the stories of Metro riders, officials, architects, urban planners, government bureaucrats, and politicians; descriptions of different social and geographical landscapes in the city; and comparisons with other forms of circulation such as cars, buses, and auto-, cycle-, and e-rickshaws. In turn, it examines the Metro as a set of new public spaces in the city and a reflection of the politics of a changing urban landscape.