Urban Widows: Living and Negotiating Gendered Dispossession in Speculative Slum Housing Markets in Mumbai

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The paper draws out the social and political struggles of everyday practices in slum neighbourhoods and the diverse strategies adopted by widows who are under threat of dispossession (the action of depriving someone of land, property home or other possessions). Insights are offered into how speculative processes have resulted in diversity of arrangements for home ownership and in the rental submarket. The perspectives of widows contribute to understanding how speculative urbanism and gentrification change social relations within poor households, particularly the relevance of changing inter-generational relations. Multi-scalar politics over the threat of insecurity and gendered dispossession are explored further by using the stories of elderly widows in a slum. Emphasis is put on their resilience, drawing on their own meagre resources and innovative strategies, aggravated by the city’s changing demographic, political and socioeconomic landscape. The discussions highlight how intergenerational transfers are negotiated, and how poor widows in slums engage with these complex arrangements. Overall, the paper highlights the relationship between an ageing population and urban poverty. Feminist geographical perspectives are crucial in understanding how neoliberal development has created ongoing gendered dispossession experienced on axes of differences (age, class, gender and poverty), which are constantly negotiated, contested and reworked and highlight gendered marginalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Early online date31 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2020


  • gender
  • dispossession
  • widow
  • speculation
  • inter-generational relations
  • displacement
  • Mumbai
  • Ageing
  • housing
  • care
  • eviction
  • India
  • rent
  • violence
  • gentrification
  • inheritance
  • resistance
  • rights

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