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Crowds, mob and the law: The Delhi rape case
Published in Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd
Volume: 53
Issue: 1
Pages: 158 - 183
Focusing on the Delhi gang rape of 16 December 2012, the article describes the force of two aggregations by which the violence is carried out and represented—the raping mob and the mourning and protesting crowd. Even though all six members of the mob are arrested within three days of the rape, we find disparate and spontaneous crowd formations across the city, expressing their anger at police apathy and state indifference in securing public spaces. This article teases out the relationship between the mob and the crowd. As far as the mob is concerned I show how the trial court presupposes a bond that ties the members together. This bond is found in the elaboration of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘dacoity’. This connection is further amplified through detailed forensic evidence, which channels the animacy of the rape into a medical–legal language of fact. In reacting to the rape crowd formations point us to the intensity of an egalitarian release. I follow Canetti’s development of ‘discharge’ and sting, without which the crowd does not exist. Finally, I show how crowd formations intersect with public discourses drawn from visual reportage as well as the medical condition of the victim. © 2019 SAGE Publications.
About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetContributions to Indian Sociology
PublisherData powered by TypesetSage Publications India Pvt. Ltd