Jananie Kalyanaraman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9339

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

Kalyanaraman, Jananie, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Traffic: Investigating Infrastructure and Social Inequality through Spatial Mobility,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta

Preliminary abstract: As cities in India rapidly expand, large amounts of state and corporate funds are being channeled into transportation infrastructure. In Bangalore city, the ‘IT capital’ of India, there is a radical contrast between the world-class infrastructure built for the information technology (IT) sector, and the poor state of infrastructure meant for wider use. People are thus differentially constrained with respect to mobility, access, and safety. For example, a lack of affordable and safe public transport forces women from some low-income settlements to find employment in nearby neighborhoods that are safe to access. In contrast, the state often links high-end bus routes to IT corridors, facilitating convenient mobility for IT employees. Since road transport infrastructure can facilitate or impede people’s access to their place of work, my study explores the following questions: how do people’s everyday practices of mobility reveal the ways in which road transport infrastructure shapes social inequality (caste, class, gender)? What do these practices reveal about the spatial organization of inequality in the city? How does contingent access to transport shape how people make meaning of infrastructure? Through an ethnography of road transport infrastructure in Bangalore, my study examines how infrastructure allows insight into the persistence of caste in relation to class and gender in urban India. I focus on caste, class and gender because preliminary research showed inequality pertaining to infrastructure as emerging along these social identities. Furthermore, my examination of the relationship between infrastructure and social identities will contribute to reimagining the creation of equitable urban geographies