Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, University of California / Merced

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2006
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Geography, University of California / Berkeley
Participatory Resettlement, Exclusionary Redevelopment: Gender, Citizenship and Eviction Politics in Mumbai, India

As Mumbai embarks upon massive restructuring and redevelopment in the efforts to become a world-class city, housing for millions of low-income residents of informal "slums" is increasingly threatened. This project examines the highly differentiated ways in which state agencies and slum communities are negotiating large-scale evictions highlighting the influence of transnational institutions and emerging political subjectivities among the poor. Grounded in an in-depth ethnographic analysis of evictions, this study aims to provide new insights on the current moment of neoliberal development. Contrary to recent scholarship extolling participation of the poor in Mun1bai's development processes, I argue that it is precisely the institutionalized modes of participation and compensation that is serving to deepen conflict and housing inequalities. Simultaneously participatory and exclusionary redevelopment has produced uneven spaces of govemability across the urban landscape where gendered and citizenship based claims to urban land by the poor figure prominently. To test this overarching claim, I will study eviction processes and compensation politics in two cases. The first focuses on one community involved in a World Bank project relocating 20,000 slum dwellers for a major transport infrastructure project. In this case, the cooperation of poor women in resettlement processes contradicts the stereotypical history of conflict over displacement caused by Bank projects. My second case examines one community that was forcibly evicted early this year with 500,000 others in one of the largest demolition drives in Mumbai's history. Eviction in this second case has engendered a space of ongoing conflict and protest as slum dwellers refuse to vacate the contested land. Departing from the premise that local processes and broader structures are mutually constitutive, this study seeks to make a contribution to the literature on global cities by ethnographically examining the intersection between cultural politics and political economy, a lacuna in current debates.