ABSTRACT

Ali’s London is multi-cultural in the bodies that populate it as much as it is in the goods it has historically swallowed up from and spewed out on to the rest of the world. Perhaps it is this new sense of a city in which difference becomes yet another good (human beings as capital) that prevents Ali from ever offering a remark on her own gendered (female), ethnicized (British Asian) and classed (upper-class) body walking about in London. Establishing a direct lineage with Woolf and her meanderings in high imperial London in the early decades of the twentieth century, which also provided the

starting point for this book, Ali traverses a postcolonial, post-imperial and global city that affords a kind of “fl exible citizenship”, to use Aihwa Ong’s term, to the city’s global elites who crisscross national boundaries with relative ease while those who are forced to fl ee across borders to fi nd a home exist in the unseen but policed spaces of the city. In both cases, lives are built around mobile homes, or homes that are not tied to the contingencies of older notions of belonging.