Gender and Positionality in Urban Fieldwork

Nikhilesh Sinha, a PhD Scholar at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit UCL and Fellow at Hyderabad Urban Lab, writes about his fieldwork experiences in Hyderabad.

After several weeks of wandering around Jahangir Nagar, survey sheets in hand and hanging out at the corner Irani chai café, I found myself being acknowledged and greeted on the street by several of the male residents. I had struggled initially to explain myself and my research, but the fact that I was studying and living in London seemed to clear many a brow and had a significant effect on my curiosity value.

My interaction with female residents however, was restricted to those I’d interviewed for the survey, usually along with a male member of the household. In cases where there was no male present, the interview would be conducted briefly on the doorstep, if at all.

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