New Revanchism and the Urban Undesirables: Street-Based Sex Workers of Bangalore

Neethi, P | 2020 


This paper addresses the experience of revanchist urban transition among street-based sex workers—male, female and transgender individuals—in Bangalore city in India, over the last two decades. While analysing this, this study lays out the everyday struggles of this section of informal workers, against revanchist forces that further perpetuate their marginalised status. To capture these experiences, oral narratives from nearly five dozen sex workers were collected over nearly eighteen months of fieldwork, as well as from half a dozen organisations supporting them. This was further complemented by longitudinal archival information, elicited from reports published in Bangalore editions of newspapers over the period 1998–2018, from the archival collection housed by the organisation Sangama. This paper also provides a discussion on the ongoing human rights and citizenship empowering initiatives among this section of workers, by identifying the role of various individuals, organisations and movements in this regard. The paper then concludes by highlighting the vital need to improve the inclusiveness of these informal workers in urban life and urban transition, not only by law enforcement but also in public consciousness.