ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Understanding Housing Resettlement through Women’s Experiences

A Place to Call Home: Women as Agents of Change in Mumbai by Ramya Ramanath, New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2019; pp xvii + 170, `795.


In the book, A Place to Call Home: Women as Agents of Change in Mumbai, Ramya Ramanath explores the uncertainties and transitions that women living on the peripheries of a nati­onal park experienced owing to slum clearance and subsequent relocation to small 225 square feet apartment units at a resettlement site called Sangharsh Nagar (symbolising a “neighbourhood born of struggle”). The book showcases the author’s deeply invested ethnographic field study in understanding the impacts of the displacement and disruptions in the lives of diverse groups of 120 women who emerge as primary agents in laying claims to the placemaking process at their new homes. The sense of “home” that evolves in this book validates the four value-types remarked by Lorna Fox (2002). These four types inc­lude “home” as a physical structure for shelter; territory for security and control; means of self-identity for reflection of personality and status; and social and cultural phenomenon for community rela­tions and networks.

The book is an arduous rec­ord of almost two decades of transition that has taken place from pre- to post-resettlement against the backdrop of urban policy, planning, politics, governance and community. Ramya Ramanath is associate professor and chair of International Public Service at DePaul University, Chicago. Her work broadly focu­ses on the role and strengths of international and domestic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the context of their cross-sector interactions and grassroots support in policy implementation. This book grew out of Ramanath’s doctoral thesis and her field research was also anchored with the support of an NGO named Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti (Committee for the Protection of Housing Rights) whose reference is interspersed throughout the book.

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Updated On : 7th Aug, 2021
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