Sameena Dalwai


This paper explores the methodological journey of undertaking a study of the legal ban on bar dancing in Mumbai and Maharashtra. A Legal Ethnography allows an understanding of the multiple layers involved in the creation of the dance bar ban and a feminist perspective focuses on those most affected by the law i.e. the bar dancers. Through interviews, group discussions and field observations, the study tries to comprehend the women who work in the dance bars and the world they weave for their customers.Yet the study moves beyond the bargirls towards the political actors to ask the question, why the ban? and dwells on not only the legislative process of passing a legislation to ban dancing but also the politics of banning erotic labour in Mumbai.This study coins new terms such as ‘Caste Capital’ to donate the cultural practices, knowledge and behaviour that allows some communities to excel in some modern occupations such as the women from traditional dancing communities within the dance bar industry and ‘Caste Governance’ to explain the actions of the government in curtailing the new found power, status and money of the bargirls.

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Sameena Dalwai, 'Dance Bar Ban: Doing a Feminist Legal Ethnography' (2016) 12(1) Socio-Legal Review 1

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