Gendered Infrastructures: Women and Urban Politics in Lahore

Monday, March 12, 2018

Amen Jaffer’s seminar focused on urban politics in Lahore – specifically, the role of elderly women in mobilizing around infrastructure issues faced by their communities and neighborhood. He discussed how these women (referred to as Apas in their community) are politically active and constantly interacting with the authorities in demanding state delivery of services such as gas, water, and electricity in Mozang, Lahore. Dr. Jaffer explained how in studying these women’s networks in this urban locality, his research team discovered particular forms of social organization among women and specific cultural styles of employing affect, bodily gestures, and speech that were critical to their successful mobilization. He discussed the various strategies employed by these women in challenging the patriarchal gender dynamics of the society, intervening in urban politics and attempting to address the everyday issues that arise in their homes and streets. The discussion raised several pertinent questions regarding the politics of infrastructure, the importance of social and cultural capital for these women, and ways in which these are employed in women making claims to their cities and its politics. Dr Jaffer also spoke about the future of the research and about the other neighborhoods he is currently working in to be able to set up a comparative study.