I am an interdisciplinary urban studies scholar, working on the governance of everyday insecurity and uncertainty in rapidly urbanising post-colonial contexts. My PhD titled 'Enclaves as process: space, security and violence in Karachi, Pakistan' (2015) was an ethnographic study of insecurity and its governance in post-colonial contexts. It investigated how differently positioned urban residents navigate everyday insecurity through social and spatial practices. It studied how citizen-led insecurity management practices intersect with particular institutional dynamics to re-produce social polarisation, marginality, and urban violence.
Through its contextual exploration of concepts such as political inequality, social exclusion, differentiated citizenship, de-regulated security governance, pluralised policing, urban segregation, the politics of fear, and southern theory, My ongoing research on insecurity and urban life in Pakistan has contributed to critical debates in urban sociology, criminology, and security studies. In the past 7 years, aspects of this research have been published in leading sociological journals (Public Culture, South Asian History and Culture), respected design publications (Harvard Design Magazine), in the form of policy reports (LSE Cities Report), book chapters (Columbia University Press, Routledge), Podcasts (Urban Political Podcast at Humboldt University, and Between the Lines at IDS Sussex), and agenda-setting research seminars (IDS Sussex, Cambridge university) and blogs (Society and Space Forum).
I am strongly committed to promoting and enabling social justice through academic research. To this end, I have just completed a REC-GCRF funded action-research project titled ‘Uncertainty & Insecurity of Tenure: Developing Infrastructures of Care and Resistance in Islamabad, Pakistan’ (£34,172). This action-research project was in collaboration with Alliance for Urban Rights (a Pakistani housing and social rights-based advocacy group). The project responded to the violent state-led eviction of working-class communities living in katchi abadis (irregular settlements) in Islamabad, the heavily-securitised Pakistani capital. It built and strengthened networks between marginal urban residents, social activists, and wider urban communities, while developing a counter narrative to state-led discourses of irregular settlement dwellers and their places of residence as ‘illegal’ and/or 'criminal'.
University of Essex