‘SINGLE’ is composed of three sub-projects, exploring different aspects of the experiences of single women in Delhi and Shanghai. The projects are work under themes: autonomy (Christiane Brosius Heidelberg University), respectability (Melissa Butcher Open University) and precarity (Jeroen de Kloet University of Amsterdam). The relationship between women’s use of space is set within wider debates of cultural encounter, world cities and globalisation, with sub-projects focusing on localised connections between neo-liberal urban transformation and gendered constructions of singleness in the city.

Autonomy – PI 1: Christiane Brosius

Sub-project 1 based at the Heidelberg University explores gendered representations and media landscapes as well as perceptions of urban space in Delhi and Shanghai.  This sub-project focuses on middle class women (20-40) researching their aspirations, everyday realities as well as the gendered geographies they navigate. Young Middle class women are at the forefront of social change in these cities. However, tensions between ‘autonomy’ and ‘risk’ still maintain a constant presence in their everyday life. The project will explore media discourses and narratives, and everyday realities of women working in the creative industry as well as urban activism in order to understand how notions of private and public, safety and autonomy, ‘tradition’ and ‘westernisation’ are negotiated.

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Respectability – PI 2: Melissa Butcher

Sub-project 2 based at Birkbeck College (University of London) explores the intersection between transforming City space, class and gender through a study of spaces and mobility in Delhi. Working with middle aged, middle class  single women, the project will explore notions of ‘respectability‘ as a form of spatial governmentality.  Strategies deployed by women to navigate a rapidly transforming city challenge a historically grown discourse of respectability and explore relation between movement and ‘freedom’. Using mobility methods research examines these challenges as well as the effects of precarity they may entail.

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Precarity – PI 3: Jeroen de Kloet

Sub-project 3 based at the University of Amsterdam studies the lifeworlds and media representation of single migrant women in Shanghai. China is experiencing the largest rural-to-urban migration in human history, women who choose not to return to their rural homes have become part of what is termed ‘aspirational class’. The project explores how they accommodate to the numerous challenges of the city, transcultural encounters, marginalisation and aspiration. Research focuses on migrant women navigating workplace and gendered urban space as well as representation of migrant women in Cinema, TV and literature.

Learn more about the sub-project and its members