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The GendV Project

Urban Transformation and Gendered Violence in India and South Africa

The GendV Project has begun amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. As with many other research projects, the pandemic has forced the research team to innovate and find new ways of working and thinking. We will soon begin a preliminary round of interviews with our NGO partners and other organisations on the ground to assess the social context and to analyse the comparisons and disjunctures in our field sites.         

In particular, the rise of domestic violence incidents under lockdown in both India and South Africa, our two countries of focus, presents new contexts and social realities for our project. The research team – which comprises of academics and collaborators from India, Uganda, South Africa and the UK – are thinking through the operations of gender in the current crisis. We are looking at how the pandemic lays bare the crisis of social reproduction and portends  long term social and gendered repercussions. 

Questions that have become particularly pressing are: How does a global pandemic of this scale further exacerbate existing crises that plague the everyday lives of women? In what ways does it put different naturalized and invisibilized forms of gender-based violence in sharp relief? Analytically, how can we think about the ongoing chronology of rupture, crisis, disruption, collapse and abnormality against the backdrop of a deeply problematic ‘normal’? Finally,  how does a pandemic become a ‘portal’ for renegotiation, renewal and even, radical change?