Policy Engagements and Blogs

CPR-CSH Workshop on ‘Iron Cage meets Makeshift Shed – The ‘Jugaad’ State in Mumbai’

December 5, 2018


Watch the full video of the CPR – CSH (Centre de Sciences Humaines) workshop (above) on ‘Iron Cage meets Makeshift Shed – The ‘Jugaad’ State in Mumbai’, featuring Dr Shahana Chattaraj.

How does the state govern cities where much of the economy is informal, on the margins of state regulatory institutions? Chattaraj draws on field research in Mumbai between 2009-2016 to present an empirically-based conceptualisation of how the state works in cities like Mumbai, where ‘informality is a mode of urbanisation.’ She uses the popular Indian notion of ‘jugaad,’ which refers to makeshift adaptations, workarounds and improvisation under constraints, to describe the state in Mumbai. ‘Jugaad’ practices and strategies of governance – adaptive, flexible, negotiated and contingent – are routinely applied by state actors at different levels in Mumbai, in spaces ‘illegible’ to formal state institutions. ‘Jugaad’ governance practices are not arbitrary or merely corrupt, but rational, if ad hoc and extra-legal, adaptations around formal rules. These processes embed state actors in local power structures and crosscutting networks that span state, market and political organisations. While they enable the state to apprehend and partially incorporate the city’s informal spaces, they dissipate centralised state power and cohesiveness. The ‘jugaad’ state concept encapsulates how the formal and informal workings of the state interact and shape urban governance in largely informal cities. It draws attention to tensions and disjunctions within the state and in state-society relations in informal contexts.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.

Find all available videos of previous workshops here.