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

Cultural LabourSubscribe to Cultural Labour

Corpo-activism

This paper considers the dance and activist labour of a group of cis- and transgendered performers who lobby for the decrimininalisation of sex work in India. Known as Komal Gandhar, the group operate out of Sonagachi, Kolkata and are the cultural wing of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a collective of over 65,000 sex workers. Based on in-depth interviews with Komal Gandhar members and an analysis of their choreographic work, this paper proposes “corpo-activism”—the activation of human rights through embodied aesthetic labour—as a crucial phenomenon that mobilises the agency of minoritised groups.

Dancing the Night Away

The varied trajectories of Bengali cabaret/bar dancers who ferried themselves between the two cities of Mumbai and Kolkata in search of livelihood and shelter since the last decades of the 20th century are mapped. Taking Kolkata as the epicentre of research, the author proposes to trace the eviction drive of the city’s erotic dancers ascribing their large-scale exodus to the cultural crusade waged by the progressive state that forced out many poor and labouring dancers, calling them out as visceral symbols of apasanskriti or pervert culture.
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