"Nothing Happens Everyday" : An Ethnographic Study of the Everyday in a Lower Court in Mumbai

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Title: "Nothing Happens Everyday" : An Ethnographic Study of the Everyday in a Lower Court in Mumbai
Author: Makhija, Sonal
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law, anthropology of law
Doctoral Programme in Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019-04-26
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-5114-8
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: Nothing Happens Everyday is an ethnographic study of the everyday in a lower court. The everyday in court was described by the women court users in my study as a spatio-temporal site where ‘nothing happens’. Thus, this is an ethnographic study of the ordinary and ‘unperceivable’ of everyday in a lower court in Northern Mumbai, India. Drawing on Maurice Blanchot’s work on the everyday, this nine-month ethnographic study of the everyday, of ‘empty-time’, of the discomfort, dreariness and boredom of sitting and waiting, follows the lives of women who encounter the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and examines how women perceive and ‘make sense’ of the law and everyday procedures. “Nothing happens in courtrooms. We only sit there all day,” was how women described their everyday encounter with the law, as everyday felt the same. The description of the everyday as unremarkable and as it is encountered in its quotidian moment is an analytical thread followed throughout this thesis, and I examine the perception of ‘nothing happens’ in light of the lived experience of the everyday through an embodied approach. The study argues that the examination of the routine and everyday experience of law sheds light on the disparity between what the law promises and what the law delivers, and what women seek from the law when they come before it. Thus, this study is a detailed exploration of what happens in the everyday in courts. What happens to those who come before it? How do women ‘reach’ the law, and why does the law remain out of reach? By focusing on everyday interactions and waiting, the project reveals law’s everyday inaccessibility, alienation, and the everyday possibilities."Ingenting händer Varje Dag" är en etnografisk studie av vardagen i en lägre domstol. Den vardagliga i domstol beskrevs av kvinnliga domstolen användare i min studie som en plats där "ingenting hände". Detta är en etnografisk studie av den vanliga dagen i en lägre domstol i Indien. I denna nio månader etnografiska studie av det vardagliga, jag följer liv och vardagliga erfarenheter av kvinnor domstol användare, av deras "tomma tid", den fysiska obehag och tristess av kvinnor som sitter och väntar i rätts salen. Studien undersöker hur kvinnor uppfattar och "vettigt" av den vardagliga i domstol. "Ingenting händer i rättssalen. Vi sitter bara där hela dagen," var hur kvinnor beskrev sin vardag i domstolen, som vardagliga kände likadant. Det är genom att studera vardagen och vad som händer varje dag i domstolar och i väntan, att vi lär oss av lagens vardagliga otillgänglighet och de vardagliga möjligheterna.
Subject: Anthropolgy and Law
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

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