BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Date of Submission



Dr. Shehram Mukhtar, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts


Yumna Fatima, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


There is a striking disparity in the gender ratio when it comes to communal spaces, termed ‘dhabas’, in Pakistan. Men overwhelmingly occupy the space of the dhaba for their leisure time as compared to women. By doing so, they tend to exhibit performative masculinity that reveals a lot about the space of the dhaba, the absence of women in that space, and chrono politics, i.e. the politics of time, that exists between men and women. By using ethnographic methods and data recorded from in-depth interviews/group conversations, this project focuses on unveiling how masculinity functions at the dhaba and what role temporality plays in the politics of visibility (i.e. the politics behind the continued existence of men in a public space as opposed to the negligible existence of women) at the dhaba.

My main area of focus is evaluating masculine time and exploring what brings men together at night. Men interviewed at the dhaba come from all walks of life and exhibit similar behaviors. Their conversations reveal the working of the ‘dhaba’ as a social space and challenge the widely accepted notion of women’s safety as the primary reason behind their absence at chai dhabas. This projects then turns to observations at the dhaba made during the nighttime in order to attempt to explain how temporality and chrono politics possibly contribute to the difference in access to public space like the dhaba, for men and women in Karachi.



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