Policy Engagements and Blogs

CPR-CSH Workshop on ‘Confining the margins, marginalising the confined: The Distress of Neglected Lockdown Victims in Indian Cities’

May 26, 2020


Watch the full video (above) of the CPR – CSH (Centre de Sciences Humaines) workshop on ‘Confining the margins, marginalising the confined: The Distress of Neglected Lockdown Victims in Indian Cities’ featuring Rémi de Bercegol and Anthony Goreau-Ponceaud.

The sudden implementation of the national lockdown caused considerable panic among underprivileged populations. Dramatic images of migrant workers desperately fleeing the big cities to return home have circulated around the world. But not all of them left, far from it, and many had no choice other than to remain confined to the margins. How has the lockdown worked as a health protection for populations that are already experiencing a first-of-its-kind of containment, living as they are on the margins of urban worlds?

This presentation compared two situations in which margin containment processes are expressed to varying degrees — that of a slum in the middle of R.K. Puram district in the centre of South Delhi, and that of a Sri Lankan refugee camp located approximately 20km from Pondicherry; two spaces that are distant from each other but whose characteristics and, above all, situations in the face of the pandemic, tend to bring closer together.

Through various testimonies, the speakers presented the very harsh conditions of confinement of poor populations, whose marginality was further reinforced by the crisis. In addition to the fact that the protective measures against the virus are impossible to respect there, due to congestion and insufficient access to water, the brutal disappearance of their everyday livelihoods strongly aggravates the low standard of living of the inhabitants.

By revealing the paradoxical effects of a confinement that is not adapted to poor neighbourhoods, this presentation argued for a better consideration of the latter during and after the pandemic crisis.

Rémi de Bercegol is an urban geographer at Centre National de la Recherche Française (CNRS) and Centre de Sciences Humaines. Anthony Goreau-Ponceaud is Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Bordeaux and a research fellow at the French Institute of Pondicherry.

Find all available videos of previous workshops here.