Nabamita Das

Emerging narratives of heterosexual intimacy across three generations of middle class urbanites of Bengal.

Supervisors: Louise Brown and Shelley Budgeon

My research seeks to understand the continual construction of heterosexual intimacy across three generations of urban middle class Bengalis since the 1950s through primarily a method of retrospective in-depth qualitative narrative interviewing. From an auto-ethnographic epistemological position in which the researcher is also the researched, studying one’s ‘home’ and self simultaneously; the construction and reconstruction of intimacy in the lived experiences of these Bengalis often mediated by a cultural imagination is understood from the lens of the ‘now’; in how they engage into a recasting of lived experiences through memory. In so doing, this paper will problematise the concept of ‘time’; show how the ‘past’ and ‘present’; ‘tradition’ and ‘modern’ are simultaneously constitutive and constituted in which the notion of ‘contemporary’ is also under continual construction through various cultural claims and imagination of the subjects in their ‘stories’ of intimacy.

The paper also seeks to understand the ‘newness’ of the ‘new’ middle class, and interrogates into how ‘new’, the ‘new’ man or the ‘new’ woman is within this class and how this claimed newness engenders a ‘new’ discourse of intimacy, if it does at all. The various dimensions of intimacy that come up  alongside intimacy as heterosexual conjugality are intimacy as friendship, homosociality and homoeroticism; intimacy as self introspection; and intimacy as masochism in pain and separation.

The paper engages with the middle class narratives’ regular scripting of intimacy through works of Rabindranath Tagore and also with the continuing and changing linguistic and idiomatic expressions in the narratives of intimacy.


A sociologist interested in personal relationships, intimacy, family, culture, in terms of the micro processes of interaction within them in everyday living. The epistemological position undertaken to appreciate a poststructuralist ontological worldview that recognizes the possibility of multiple subjectivities across a range of discourses is auto-ethnography that focuses on how people give meanings to their actions. Therefore, emphasis is laid on the sociology of people in their lived experiences and imagination.


  • BA in Sociology (Hons) University of Calcutta.
  • MA in Sociology (Gold Medalist) University of Calcutta.

Research interests

  • The relationship between intimacy, gender  and social change
  • Sociology of personal relationships
  • Narratives of time and memory
  • Post structuralism, Postcolonialism and emerging gender identities,
  • Neoliberalism, the illusion of choice and agency and gender inequality
  • Gendered subjectivities and identities
  • Forms of femininities and masculinities
  • Feminist method and epistemology

Teaching responsibilities

  • Seminar Tutor for the Gender and Sexuality module with Department of POLSIS
  • Part time lecturer of Sociology with Murulidhar Girls' College, Calcutta, India
  • Faculty of Sociology with Institute for Civil Service Aspirants, India
  • Faculty of Sociology with Triumphant Institute of Management Education, India

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