Dalwai, Sameena (2012) Performing caste: the ban on bar dancing in Mumbai. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis examines the ban on bar dancing in Mumbai and Maharashtra as an outcome of politics of gender and caste in a globalising India. By redeploying the historical erotic dancing in a globalising India, the dance bars emerged as the new market providing Bollywood-type entertainment with dance, music, and hospitality to the new consumer class. The Dance Bar market offered employment opportunities to poor women to earn a livelihood and proved to be an exceptional market where female labour was paid very well. By deploying their caste capital, i.e., the hereditary skills of dancing, drama and use of sexuality, the traditional dancing women occupied and ruled the dance bar market. To this extent, the bargirls may be viewed as a ‘performing caste’ continuing their hereditary caste occupations in a globalising capitalist market. However, while their relationship to the customer was defined through the market and they earned money, status and power through their occupation, the bargirls challenged, transformed and redefined the caste hierarchy by the use of ‘caste capital’.

The demand for the ban on dancing in the bars came up through cultural discourses of protection of youth, family, Indian culture and the dignity of women, in which bargirls were projected as bad women earning too much money by cheating their customers and encouraging illegal activities in the dance bars. The ban diminished the freedom, earning potential and unique identity of the bar dancers, pushing them back into their original caste/class positionality. The legal ban can be studied as the effect of politics of caste and gender in Maharashtra intervening into the global market.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Contributors: Krishnadas, JH (Thesis advisor)
Fletcher, Ruth (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2017 08:47
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2022 09:39
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3813

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