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Accepted Paper:

Trapped in a luxury prison within a 'dangerous city': Narratives of COVID-19, gendered violence, the home and the city amongst middle-class South African women  
Shannon Philip (University of Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the complex and contradictory understandings of the 'home' and its relation to the 'city' amongst middle class South African women during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its interplay with narratives of gendered violence, classed respectability and urban transformations.

Paper long abstract:

The 'home' has long been a site of feminist engagement and critical scholarship. During the global COVID-19 pandemic and its 'shadow pandemic' of gendered violence, the home as a site of enquiry has gained renewed attention. In this paper I look at how wealthy and middle-class South African women conceptualise their 'home' within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular I focus on the narratives of gendered violence experienced and discussed by some women as well as contrasting narratives about the 'safe home' and the 'dangerous city' that several other women talked about. In this way, a complex picture emerges around the ideas and imaginaries of the 'home', its lived realities and the many classed and gendered anxieties that shape it in relation to urban transformations. The data for this paper is derived primarily from semi-structured interviews with 40 women in the wealthy suburb of Sandton in Johannesburg. The paper reveals complex and contradictory understandings of the 'home' during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its interplay with narratives of gendered violence, a gendered respectability as well as ideas about unsafe urban spaces. In this way the paper attempts to connect the 'home' and the 'outside', as well as ideas of violence, safety and 'protection' along a single analytical continuum.

Panel P16c
Gendered Violence and Urban Transformations in the Global South III