Women as Agents of Change: Feminizing Space from the Bottom

Authors: Nihal Perera*, Ball State University
Topics: Gender, Cultural Geography, Asia
Keywords: Feminizing, lived space, production of space, Sri Lanka, infrapolitics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Governor's Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The paper-session aptly focuses on the (dis)connection between critical theory of the West and the ‘practices’ in the so-called Global South. Building on critiques of the universalization of Western knowledge and the totalization of its theories, my work investigates how ordinary people construct their identities and spaces in the larger context which is dominated by the West and “worlded” by West-centric scholarship; I focus on ordinary people’s everyday infrapolitics. The object is to develop ways to ‘see’, find, acknowledge, make visible, investigate, and subject to critique the spaces produced and negotiated by ordinary people for their daily activities and socio-cultural practices, but on their own terms, to the degree possible. This paper attempts to juxtapose my work and the larger question of theory the session asks. It will map out two studies of women constructing/negotiating spaces for their daily activities and cultural practices, including gender (power) relations, on their own terms, to the degree possible. It will then tease out the interpretations and theorizations of these processes and locate these within larger transnational and trans-local scales, questioning conventional categories such as the “Global South.” Asking whether Western theory is the solution or the problem, it will both employ and examine the ‘theoretical’ tools that I have been developing to talk about the way ordinary people use their agency to produce/negotiate identities and social spaces for their daily activities and cultural (routine) practices. I refer to what Lefebvre and Harvey calls “lived spaces” but grossly overlooked by them and their followers.

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