Urban India: social, spatial and political trajectories
This panel explores the social, spatial and political evolution of India’s cities in the neoliberal era. The papers engage diverse disciplinary perspectives on the urban milieu and its relationship to broader socio-political trajectories, drawing together case studies from across contemporary India.
· Dr Ritanjan Das University of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, United Kingdom)
This panel explores the social, spatial and political evolution of India’s urban spaces post-1991. It proposes to look at the ongoing transformations of the ‘city’ through concrete case studies of particular kinds of urban and peri-urban neighbourhoods - bastis, chawls, colonies and high-rise apartments. The papers will address themes grounded in the specific contexts of the urban milieu, such as: infrastructure and housing developments; changing political economies of work and home; affective experiences of security, belonging, and exclusion reproduced in space; political protagonists, ideologies, and how they operate in urban environments; democratic norms and practices as sustained through the city’s grassroots spaces and structures.
The urban milieu is not static, but constantly remade through time; its shifting demographics, spatial (re)organizations and competing political protagonists all work together to shape the city as a particular kind of engine in the contemporary socio-political landscape. The panel sees urban India as a sociological phenomenon that warrants its own theoretical language, and seeks to draw examples of urban neighbourhoods from across contemporary (neoliberal) India into a comparative conversation. How can we begin to talk about the emergent trajectories of urban India in ways which accounts for the unique interplay of social, spatial and political formations in the sometimes dense, sometimes segregated realities of an Indian city? The papers will engage perspectives from geography, political science, anthropology and sociology in an interdisciplinary conversation about the social and political realities of contemporary Indian cities.