CPR-CSH Workshop on The Durable Slum: Residential Insecurity and the ‘Right to Stay Put’ in Urban India by Prof. Liza Weinstein of Northeastern University and Fullbright-Nehru Fellow, Sociology Department, Delhi University.
Date: Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Time: 3.45 p.m.
Venue: Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021
Housing insecurity is a longstanding and pervasive problem in urban India, exacerbated by skyrocketing land prices and considerable development pressures facing both major metros and smaller towns. Yet the experience of insecurity is uneven, as evictions and demolition drives are carried out inconsistently and the recourse available to residents varies markedly between (and even within) cities. While some informal residents are asserting their right to stay put, others are facing displacement and dispossession. This paper draws on nearly a decade of research in Mumbai’s Dharavi settlement, and a newer comparative study currently under way, to consider the varied landscapes of housing insecurity across urban India, as well as the broader relationship between change and stability in the context of global urban development.
This paper ventures an answer to the question of how Dharavi and its presumably marginal residents have held on, for over a century, to some of Mumbai’s most potentially valuable land, highlighting the political and institutional fragmentations and character of housing rights activism that have consistently and, so far, successfully withstood plans to redevelop Dharavi. But, beyond Dharavi, the paper theorizes some of the ways that cities and their residents are responding to the potentially obliterating and totalizing forces of global capital. While these forces are locally contingent, mediated by distinctive local institutions and forms of resistance, this work indicates that more may remain durable than prevailing wisdom or our existing theories suggest.
Liza Weinstein is a currently a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow in the Sociology Department at the University of Delhi, and is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University in Boston. Her book, The Durable Slum: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai, was recently published by Orient BlackSwan and University of Minnesota Press. Her research on cities and globalization has appeared in a number of journals and several edited volumes. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the fifty sixth in a series of Urban Workshops planned by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on issues relating to the development of the city and try to address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society and politics. For further information, please contact: Jayani Bonnerjee at email@example.com, Partha Mukhopadhyay at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marie-Hélène Zerah at email@example.com