"Narrating and Negotiating Urban Conflict: A Study of Lyari, Karachi"

Crossroads Asia Lecture by Nida Kirmani, ZMO Berlin

Time and venue: 6 pm at ZMO Berlin (Kirchweg 33, 14129 Berlin)

Lecture by Dr. Nida Kirmani

Lyari is one of the oldest and most diverse settlements in Karachi. It is also one of its most volatile areas and has been the site of an on-going conflict between rival gangs, political parties and state security forces over the past ten years .Many of the residents of this area express a sense of isolation and marginalisation from the rest of the city, which they trace back to the time before Partition, but which is described as having increased over the past decade. Not only have Lyari’s residents faced heightened insecurity as a result of violence within their locality, but they also face discrimination in terms of education and employment outside of Lyari. This presentation will explore the multiple ways in which this on-going conflict is narrated by Lyari’s residents, focusing mainly on those neighbourhoods that are populated largely by Baloch communities. The research highlights how various individuals understand and explain the conflict and articulate their multiple fears and insecurities, particularly focusing on the experiences of young Baloch men. In doing this, the talk will provide important insights into the impact of urban conflicts on identity formation and on the spatial imaginations and experiences of marginalized citizens.

Nida Kirmani is a visiting research fellow of the CrossroadsAsia competence network, currently based at Zentrum Moderne rOrient Berlin. She is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Previouslyshe was a Research Fellow in the Religions and Development Programme at the University of Birmingham (2007-2010). Her previous research focused on Muslims in India and women’smovements in India and Pakistan. Her book, "Questioning ‘the Muslim Woman’: Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality", was published in 2013 by Routledge.

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