International Development Planning Review

Women hawkers in Tehran’s metro: everyday politics and the production of public space

International Development Planning Review (2017), 39, (1), 57–75.

Abstract

Tehran’s metro symbolises the city’s claims to world-class status and its expansion enjoys widespread support across the political spectrum. This article focuses on the ways in which the carriages reserved for women are appropriated by female hawkers despite the efforts of municipal officials determined to eliminate hawking within the metro. On an everyday basis, the ubiquity of hawkers contributes to the production of a convivial atmosphere within the carriages reserved for women. However, the surreptitious appropriation of space comes at a cost for the hawkers, who face competing pressures. While this space is emancipatory in the sense that it is a relatively safe place for female hawkers to earn their livelihoods or spending money, many have reported feelings of anxiety because of the stigma associated with hawking. This article contributes to the scholarship on urban citizenship and exclusion by focusing on the governance of a ‘world-class’ urban megaproject, and the complex social and economic pressures that affect some of its users.

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Fadaee, Simin

Schindler, Seth