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No One Will Let Her LiveWomen's Struggle for Well-Being in a Delhi Slum$
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Claire Snell-Rood

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284807

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284807.001.0001

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To Know the Field

To Know the Field

Shaping the Slum Environment and Cultivating the Self

(p.180) 4 To Know the Field
No One Will Let Her Live

Claire Snell-Rood

University of California Press

Chapter 5 examines the way that women used the slum environment as a tool for personal and social redefinition. Public-health practitioners have long argued that the unequal urban environment stacks the odds against the health of the poor. To reduce the hazards that surrounded them and complete the work necessary to care for their families, women spent their days immersed in managing their home environment. Yet women elaborated their sense that attention to the environment could build a different kind of health. Women’s efforts to endure, rather than escape, the harsh climate built physical strength that made them less vulnerable to sickness. Through their hygiene techniques and housing decisions, women established home microenvironments that ideologically and physically separated their families from the industrial slum around them. Though women’s transformation of the slum was limited, they used their environmental practices to communicate self-worth in the midst of social stigma. This chapter suggests that practices to manage environmental hazards and promote hygiene have deeper ramifications for self-definition.

Keywords:   environment, home, slum, stigma, hygiene, climate

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