Current project | Koli fishers, dol netting, and the ontopolitics of care

My current research explores a traditional fishing method known as dol netting that survives in the shadow of commercial, extractive fishing. Dol netting is practiced by indigenous Koli fishers in Mumbai, the capital of the State of Maharashtra in India.

Drawing on Science and Technology Studies (STS), anthropology of infrastructure, and politics of care, I approach dol net fishing as an undetermined, multi-way process of reciprocal relating to various actors. Dol netting requires continuous work of forming and cultivating reciprocal relations to other people, the state, celestial bodies, the sea, and its diverse inhabitants in an effort to hold things together. I approach dol netting as a future-oriented ontopolitical practice as it seeks to maintain, manipulate, and call into being caring relations on which its ability to survive depends.

The research is part of the project Sustainable Livelihoods and Politics at the Margins: Environmental Displacement in South Asia, which explores how people perceive and negotiate their weather and climate-related displacement, and how they struggle for their right to earn a sustainable living. The four-year project (2018-2022) is funded by the Academy of Finland.

PhD project | Differentiated citizenship, displacement, and materiality in state-citizen relations in Ahmedabad

My doctoral dissertation examines the character of relations between the state and the citizens in the context of large-scale urban redevelopment in Ahmedabad. Based on ethnographic methods, it explores how the entanglement of the world-class aesthetic and Hindu nationalism in Ahmedabad reconstructs citizenship, nation, and the state, and how people displaced in the name of development perceive the state and negotiate the changing terms of belonging. It analyses the aftermath of the displacement and resettlement of urban poor with a focus on everyday life in Sadbhavna Nagar, one of the most populous resettlement sites in the city.