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The "Smart Safe City": Gendered Time, Speed, and Violence in the Margins of India's Urban Age

Datta, A; (2020) The "Smart Safe City": Gendered Time, Speed, and Violence in the Margins of India's Urban Age. Annals of the Association of American Geographers , 110 (5) pp. 1318-1334. 10.1080/24694452.2019.1687279. Green open access

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Abstract

Speed is fundamental to shaping visions of the modern city and of contemporary urban life. Notions of speed and acceleration have produced distinct conceptualizations of rapid urbanization as a rush toward progress and opportunity. In this article, I examine what speed looks like from the margins, when seen through the struggles of young women in the urban peripheries who are coping with the precarity of working in the city, while negotiating deeply entrenched gender power relations within the home. By examining how speed is conceptualized through the trope of the “smart safe city” and what this means for those living in the digital and urban margins, I examine how a negotiation of time becomes fundamental to gendered life in the urban periphery. Using methods of time-mapping, participatory workshops, WhatsApp diaries, and in-depth interviews, I argue that for those in the margins, everyday life is entrenched in time struggles between the rhythms of the city and the rhythms of family life. Although the focus on the “smart safe city” in India mobilizes the logics of a technological fix, for young women the mobile phone is a significant technology to cope with daily time struggles. This article concludes that although transformations of ideas of speed and time in the smart safe city shape practices of measuring, visualizing, and representing violence against women through technology, those in the urban peripheries encounter and negotiate its spatiotemporalities through a slow violence of life that is invisible and unfolding over time and space.

Type: Article
Title: The "Smart Safe City": Gendered Time, Speed, and Violence in the Margins of India's Urban Age
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2019.1687279
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2019.1687279
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: gendered time, margins, safe city, slow violence, smart city, speed, urban peripheries
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082953
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