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Making Colombo intimate

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mihirini Sirisena


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This paper discusses the significance of considering the relationship of urban space to affective intimacy. I consider the modes through which migrant students attending the University of Colombo experience Sri Lanka's capital city. Focusing on romantic relationships, I argue that the city presents a relational space that can be transformed through quotidian intimate experiences. Students inhabit and re-orient a potentially isolating and alienating space with emotionally-inflected interactions, routines and memories. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork conducted with students at the university in 2007–08, this paper argues that building an affectionate and living relationship with the city is a way of ‘intimatising’ it.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sirisena M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

Year: 2016

Volume: 39

Issue: 01

Pages: 167-182

Online publication date: 21/01/2016

Acceptance date: 20/12/2015

ISSN (print): 0085-6401

ISSN (electronic): 1479-0270

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/00856401.2015.1132404


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