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Title: Generation NGO : youth and development in urban India
Author: Romani, Sahar Pervez
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 5140
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissertation is about the role of NGOs in the lives of subaltern youth in urban India. It is an ethnography on the everyday lives of young people between the ages of 18-32 from impoverished 'red-light areas' in Kolkata who grew up participating in NGO youth programmes. This thesis investigates how NGOs partake in a process of subject making, and how young people interact with and improvise NGO subjectification to better their own lives in a world- class aspiring city. The youth featuring in this dissertation spent their childhood and adolescence either residing in NGO shelter homes or regularly attending NGO drop-in-centres in their neighborhoods. They came of age attending NGO education programmes, job skills trainings, and human rights workshops. Grounded in 13 months of fieldwork, my ethnography tells the stories of young people’s lives after their participation in NGO programmes, amidst their everyday worlds of work, consumption, and politics. My examination of the young people’s post-NGO daily lives in Kolkata makes three key contributions. First, it reveals the contradictions of NGO development. It examines the ambivalent effects of NGOs on subaltern young people’s gender and class identity, as well as their social and political subjectivity and mobility. Second, it illustrates the plural forms of agency practised by urban marginalised youth. My thesis demonstrates how young people are not just passive recipients of NGO development opportunities, but active negotiators of development as they interact with NGOs and navigate its attempts to regulate youth. Third, it illustrates how NGOs and post-NGO youth both foster and trouble class divisions in the world-class aspiring city of Kolkata. I illustrate how young people develop cultural dispositions that straddle across subaltern and middle classes and unsettle class boundaries but not inequalities. This dissertation argues for ethnographic attention to the everyday lives of post-NGO youth as an analytical lens to theorise NGOisation and global city processes in contemporary India and the greater global South.
Supervisor: Jeffrey, Craig; McDowell, Linda Sponsor: Clarendon Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography ; South Asia ; Urban Studies ; Ethnographic practices ; development ; youth ; cities