Women, Work and Public Spaces: Conflict and Coexistence in Karachi’s Poor Neighborhoods


This article focuses on how working‐class women encounter and negotiate economic uncertainty, social vulnerability and sexually threatening public spaces in contemporary Karachi, showcasing women’s everyday experiences of social and physical violence as a microcosm of the city’s life in order to explore the possibilities of a future politics for cities like Karachi that are haunted by the possibility of violent eruptions. By concentrating on people’s everyday practices, it proposes a different register by which to understand cities and their politics, a register constituted by an emergent politics that is not always dependent on an analysis of conflict and friction, but which instead focuses on living with disagreements. Hence the article uses the ethnographic depiction of women’s lives to understand the mechanisms through which people continue to coexist, share resources and work together, despite the endemic personal, social and political violence in Karachi’s working‐class neighborhoods.