[Reader-list] Posting II

Aparajita De aparajita_de at rediffmail.com
Tue Jun 1 17:27:28 IST 2004

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The main attempt of my study is to understand how groups locate themselves in relation to others. Location here pertains to the position that groups are situate in, in society with respect to others. Here I presume that when a group tries to late itself they do so in terms of their perceived status and power in comparison to others. My second assumption is that this social location of a group with respect to other groups will manifest itself on physical space particularly in terms of who lives where and ones choice of residence. In other words, social location may correspond with physical location of a group in relation to others. 

The subsequent questions that are raised are: who represents whom? Who constitutes a particular group and who does not? Who constitutes the other and who does not? Is social location or physical location a rather one sided self generated one? Is it also derived from where the others situate them? Is it given and static or is it dynamic and fluid?

Armed with these questions and confusions I went to face the field. The methodology that I had adopted for the study was that of mapping how groups located themselves and others within the walled city of Ahmedabad. I planned on a few case studies that would help me to link the ‘form’ with the ‘processes’. I prepared four sets of maps that were to be pre-tested before finalizing which to use. The first was an outline map of the entire city of Ahmedabad in which all the administrative wards were shown. The second was of the walled city alone with its administrative wards. The third was of the walled city and surrounding areas along with the transport network (only the main arteries were included) and names of the different areas. The last map depicted the walled city with its dense transport network including the main, secondary and tertiary arteries and landmarks.

For pre-testing of the schedule I selected three cases one each from Hindu dominated and Muslim dominated areas and one from a mixed area. The Hindu dominated area being Khadia, the Muslim dominated area being Jamalpur and the mixed area being that of Dariapur. Khadia and Jamalpur are not conflict prone while Dariapur is a highly riot prone area. The source of data that is the residential location of population according to different communities and conflict prone areas, was my PhD thesis (submitted in 2002) entitled “Spatial Structure and Social Interaction in the Core Areas of Indian Cities. The Case Study of Ahmedabad”          

What I found was that respondents were unable to figure out the first and second maps. They best responded to the third and fourth type of maps. So I finally decided to keep the third and the fourth map as the final schedule. 

Research Associate
Centre for Social Studies
South Gujarat University Campus
Udhna Magdalla Road
Surat 395007
Phone: 0261 2227173/74
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email: css_surat at satyam.net.in

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