Auntyness in a Beauty Parlour: Relaxation, Conversation, Labour and Care

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Interactive service work in various middle- and upper-class settings has created visible disparities between those who seek the work and those who provide it. In addition to beauty work, beauty parlours require emotional/affective work, widening the class gap between sellers and consumers by requiring further labour on the part of the worker. However, within the smaller beauty parlours existing in the by-lanes of larger Indian markets, there is the possibility of creating shared space through conversations and care through a mobilisation of ‘auntyness’. In this paper, I explore how the conversations in a New Delhi beauty parlour lead to the creation of aunties that challenges the limits of interactive service work and enables temporary communities of kinship and care that hinge upon the participants’ performances of the styles, affects and values associated with aunties.

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Verma, T. (2023). Auntyness in a Beauty Parlour: Relaxation, Conversation, Labour and Care. South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, 46(1), 170–186.

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