Young urban Indian women have made women's rights to seek pleasure and have fun, especially in public, central to a new repertoire of feminist resistance and also as a way of demarcating themselves from “joyless” feminisms of the past. Concerns around pleasure, fun, and joy appear far removed from the everyday lives of poor and marginalized rural women. In this contribution, the author foregrounds rural women's pleasure-seeking practices, in consumption, fun, and friendship, which were the unanticipated outcomes of their involvement with a local NGO seeking to empower poor women. These were primarily lower-caste, lower-class women who were partially included in the aspirational futures of a globalized India, through poorly paid and precarious development work. Their participation in such work—a disciplinary domain imbued with its own regulatory potentials—enabled the development of new skills, techniques, and capacities in an entirely other domain, of nonwork or fun. The fact that fun, pleasure, and self-making relied on cultures of enterprise, empowerment, and aspiration also brings into view some of the contradictions at stake in neoliberal India.

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