The Sensorium of the Everyday: Remembrances and Remnants in Downtown Srinagar

The Sensorium of the Everyday: Remembrances and Remnants in Downtown Srinagar
The dissertation, “The Sensorium of the Everyday: Remembrances and Remnants in Downtown Srinagar”, is an exploration of the question: how do we reimagine the social and spatial world of Downtown Srinagar of the 1990s and its superimpositions on the present? In a place where political violence is a fundamental part of people’s everyday lives, two ethnographic enquiries emerge based on the fieldwork from 2015 to 2017: one, how the social space of Downtown Srinagar is constituted and reconstituted in the everyday? And two, what are the remnants of the past through which remembrance is mediated? To reflect on these questions, I propose the idea of metonymies of memories in which different forms of remembrances: visual, linguistic, and extra-linguistic/sensory are in a constant interplay. I argue that the visual and linguistic forms such as the martyrs’ graveyards, public display of photographs and survivor testimonies are in a contiguous relationship with the extra-linguistic and sensory forms of remembrances such as dreams and intimate everyday artefacts that do not always find a home in language. Through these forms of remembrance I propose that despite the enmeshment of life with continuing violence and trauma, this work gradually puts forward an understanding of Downtown Srinagar as a study of survival in everyday life. The invocation of trauma does not suggest a suspension of life rather I delineate the social world of Downtown along two interconnecting and superimposing axes of suspension and survival. To foreground this, I put forward the conditions of the everyday that embody an affirmation and continuation of life despite and within the disciplinary paraphernalia of military control which relentlessly suspends life. I suggest the sensorium becomes an alternate entry point into social world of Downtown that can be reassembled not through one discourse of memory but through a constellation of interconnecting and disparate remnants.


Dr. Bhavneet Kaur

Defended in

1 Jan 2022 – 30 Nov 2022

PhD defended at

Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi


Social Sciences


South Asia


Human Rights
War / Peace