Affiliated researcher - Leipzig University
Navigating Uncertainty: Illness, Care and Agency in Urban IndiaMy PhD thesis explores how women in a low-income Delhi neighbourhood navigate issues of care and agency within serious illness. It examines the interrelationship between illness, suffering, crisis of care and agency, through interpretation of selected health stories gathered during in-depth fieldwork. The fieldwork neighbourhood consists of newly urbanised rural migrants, who fall between the health care options that cater either to the very poor, or to the well-off middle class in a rapidly globalising city. Fitting neither category, and in response to the inadequate care they experience across the domains of family, neighbourhood and health institutions, women develop tactics to negotiate and cultivate care in intricate ways within these spheres. Using theories of care, kinship and agency, the thesis shows how women manoeuvre within and around different registers of illness, kinship relations and bureaucratic institutions, in order to act and forge different kinds of agency and care for themselves within illness contexts. My Brocher residency will be spent developing some of the themes in my recently completed thesis. One of these themes is the different tactical manoeuvres that families are forced to undertake in order to access hospital care under schemes for low-income people.