Ritu Yumnam | Department of Sociology


Doctoral Research Scholar
Department of Sociology
School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SoHSS)
Shiv Nadar University
Profile Summary 

My research interest emerges out of six years of research among rural communities of Uttarakhand that highlights the extent to which everyday life of hill communities, and particularly that of young people is undergoing rapid socioeconomic and cultural transformations. However, the contemporary ground realities of youthful lives and aspirations, inflected by intersectionalities of gender, class, caste, and im/mobility experiences are yet to be adequately explored. My doctoral research aims to fill this gap, giving voice to hitherto under-represented diversities of young pahari (belonging to the mountain) people, thereby deepening understandings of their inter-subjective lives. Drawing from contemporary feminist and new materialism onto-epistemological standpoints, I plan to study the material-subjective circumstances around and experiences of young pahari mobilities between hilly Uttarakhand and the north-Indian urban plains, in both directions. The generation of empirical data and new insights around young pahari culture(s), im/mobilities, and social interactions between different geographical spaces which are formative of new identities, has scope to enliven discourses around mountain communities and sustainable mountain development at a time when past paradigms no longer speak to present realities. This issue has a renewed significance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic-induced reverse-migration to Uttarakhand.

In focusing on diversities of migration experiences across social differences of gender, caste and class, this study will help to shift attention from the ‘outmigrating pahari men’ and ‘farm bound pahari women’ narrative that has informed earlier studies. So far scholarship on outmigration from Uttarakhand has been overwhelmingly men-centered and quantitative, and attention to return migration processes is sparse. By looking at young lives as they unfold across and between dualistic categories (urban/rural or plains/hills), the study will make empirical contributions to the diversity of subjectivities preceding and emerging from the lived experience of im/mobilities. This study will also be a significant contribution to the issue of ‘spatializing’ youth studies and on young ‘becoming’ via an emphasis on the distinct spaces, in the form of hills and urban plains, traversed by the young migrants.

Educational Qualifications 
M.Phil. Natural Resource Management
Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal
Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Master of Arts in Sociology
Work Experience 
Senior Researcher,
Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan (Uttarakhand Environmental Education Centre),
Almora, Uttarakhand
Qualitative Researcher,
Taylor Nelson Sofres (Merged into Kantar IMRB),
Conferences (Select): 

Panelist and Speaker at the XXXI Gender and Economic Policy Discussion Forum organized by Institute of Social Studies Trust (Delhi) on 'Women in Tourism: Unpacking the Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Prospects'  (2019)

Project presentation 'Creating communities of practice and resilient village ecosystems in the mountain region of Uttarakhand' at the National Seminar-cum-M&E Workshop of National Mission for Himalayan Studies, MoEFCC, Almora  (2019)

Research paper presentation 'Diverse Experiences of Adverse Environmental Events in Hilly Uttarakhand: A Call for Nuanced Disaster Risk Reduction Practises at the National Seminar on Climate Change, State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change, Environmental Planning & Coordination Organization, Government of Madhya Pradesh (2018)

Research presentation 'Neither of the forest nor of the town: Telling women’s tales of relocation from Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh' at the Marginal Ecologies, School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University, Delhi  (2015)

Research paper presentation 'Fortress Conservation and the Inherent Incongruities' at the Network for Rural and Agrarian Studies, Annual workshop, IIFM, Bhopal (2014)

Research presentation 'Impact of Relocation from Protected Areas on Tribal Women: A time-use study in Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh' at the Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI), Lumami University, Nagaland (2013)