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The ongoing urban transition in South Asia is a major fact in economic and environmental terms, but also in social and political terms. Indeed cities, especially mega cities, are privileged sites both for social change (which partly explains their attractiveness) and for political experimentation. One can observe in India, for example, a series of local initiatives (discussed in national debates) that suggest a new status for gender issues in urban governance : free public transport for women, massive construction of public toilets, increased recruitment of women in police, taxi companies created and driven by women etc. These initiatives are very diverse in their ambition and reach, but together they suggest a new consciousness of what is at stake in making urban public space accessible for women. Such stakes are social and economic (women’s access to work, education, leisure), but also political (women’s capacity to have an impact in elections, as was the case in the latest elections to the legislative assembly of Delhi). Such initiatives deserve all the more to be scrutinized that they happen in societies where women as a whole have been devalorised, and sexual minorities marginalised, in many ways.
This PhD, at the intersection of political science, gender studies and urban studies, will aim at measuring change, understanding its causes and its impact, and if possible, assessing its replicability.
Candidates might consider the following orientations :
– Making an inventory of local initiatives that manifest a new attention given to gender issues in urban life, and identify those actors, institutions and dispositives that implement them ;
– Building a genealogy of such initiatives, looking for example at the role played by feminist and LGBTQ organizations, political parties, individual leaders/activists/intellectuals, assessing to what extent specific contexts (such as the 2012 anti-rape protests in India, or the #Metoo movement) have been decisive or not. Such a genealogy would help understand how ideas and practices circulate, which would in turn refine our comprehension of the resources, forms and evolution of urban governance.
– Building a method to evaluate the impact of these initiatives, taking into account the goals pursued by their authors, but also the unintended an nonetheless real effects of such policies/campaigns/events.
The above are only examples and candidates are most welcome to suggest other possible orientations.

Work Context:

The PhD student will work in the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (Centre for South Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS), Paris, but also in the Centre de Sciences Humaines (French Centre for Social Sciences) New Delhi, to which s-he will be attached during the fieldwork.

Constraints and risks:

Candidates must take into account the fact that access to fieldwork in South Asia might remain difficult at least until March 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemics. They are therefore encouraged to consider using digital resources.

Additional Information:

Candidates must have completed a Master 2 (or equivalent) at the time of registration. They must have a training in social sciences (political science, sociology, anthropology, geography…), and have some experience in conducting fieldwork (interviews, ethnography, archives study etc.). They must be fluent in English and comfortable in one South Asian language.
The application will include the following documents :
1. To be posted on the Portail Emploi of CNRS :
– curriculum vitae
– motivation letter
2. To be sent by email to :
– Research project : a 5 page text mentionning the object of the research, the main research question, the sources and methods considered.
– One or several texts written by the candidate (article, Master dissertation…)
– One recommandation letter