School of Social and Political Science

Emilija Zabiliute

Job Title

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow


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Chrystal Macmillan Building

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15a George Square

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LI-DIA: Living with Diabetes

My project explores relational care among diabetes patients in Delhi, India. The project sets out in both, urban poor and middle-class settings, and in this way seeks to examine ethical worlds of care under diverse conditions, including dire poverty, where stakes of care and illness intersect with other forms of vulnerabilities.

As a chronic illness with no simple cure, diabetes requires care and illness management enabling patients minimise the challenges, posed by the illness. Yet, such ‘living with illness’ occurs in everyday settings and outside of the clinics, where humans act upon each other relationally. An inquiry into care then, needs to take into account domestic and familial realms. Diabetes provides a convenient lense for this exploration due to its tendency to alter patient’s daily lives, needs and routines. Primarily, I am interested how everyday life challenges due to a chronic illness such as diabetes are negotiated by the patients and families outside of clinical settings. Exploring care practices that extend beyond the biomedical needs to attend the illness, I am interested in how they shape life with others, families, relatedness and belonging.  The project funded by the Marie Curie fellowship of the European Commission.

Other research interests and projects

My PhD project, completed at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, examines everyday lives, care and illness among urban poor in a neighbourhood in Delhi’s peri-urban margins. It explores how neighbourly, family and kin relations underscore the everyday vulnerabilities among the poor. The project situates these relational vulnerabilities into the explorations of how urban poor experience illness and engage with diverse and multifaceted medical ecology in the area, underwritten by governmental community health interventions, pharmaceutical markets and unlicensed practitioners. Relational vulnerabilities also emerge as a common trope in governmental health interventions, designed specifically for the urban poor, and run by the National Health Mission of India. The thesis was awarded Ester Boserup Thesis Prize at the University of Copenhagen in 2017.

My other research interests and publications relate to the themes of social mobility, gendered violence, and impacts of drives towards cashless economies on the urban poor (see the link).


Journal articles

"Ethics of Neighborly Intimacy among Community Health Activists in Delhi", Medical Anthropology 2020.

“Claiming status and contesting sexual violence and harrasment among community health workers in Delhi”, Gender, Place and Culture. 2019.

 “Introduction: (En)Countering sexual violence in the Indian city”, Gender, Place and Culture. forthcoming (with Atreyee Sen and Rainder Kaur). 2019.

 “Wandering in a mall: aspirations and family among urban poor young men in Delhi”, Contemporary South Asia 24:2, Special Issue: Social Mobility in Post-reform India. 2016.

“Notes from the field: Delhi Assembly elections, daru and politisation of violence against women”, Feminist Review 107:1. 2014 

Book chapters

"'Cards Are for Showing off': Aesthetics of Cashlessness and intermediation among the urban poor in Delhi in Who's Cashin in? Contemporary Perspectives on New Moneys and  Global Cashlessness edited by Atreyee Sen, Johan Lindquist and Marie Kolling. Berghahn Publications. 2020


[Book Review] "Lesley Weaver, Sugar and Tension: Diabetes and Gender in Modern India",  Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology. 2019.

[Dissertation review.] “Andrew McDowell, Troubling Breath. Tuberculosis, Care and Subjectivity at the Margins of Rajasthan”Dissertation Reviews. 2015. 

[Book review.] “Sarah Pinto, Daughters of Parvati. Women and Madness in Contemporary India”South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 38:3. 2015

Research interests

Research interests

South Asia, India, diabetes, Medical Anthropology, care, kinship, vulnerability, urban poor, neighbours, gender, gendered violence, Gender and Development, International development

If you are interested in being supervised by Emilija Zabiliute, please see the links below for more information:

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