CPR CSH Workshop: Informal Work and Urban Exclusion

Date and Time

September 27, 2022

3:45 pm to 5:00 pm


CPR Conference Room

Supriya Roy Chowdhury

Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

About the Talk

Alongside debates over rising inequalities, the stubbornness of urban poverty, globally, has emerged as a major academic and policy concern. Bangalore’s evolution into India’s silicon valley demonstrates the dualities of dramatic wealth generation and deep pockets of urban marginality. Inter-generationally, the urban poor remain tied to traditional low paying occupations. They may get incorporated into new urban growth channels (export industries, low end services) under highly unfavourable terms and conditions. The concepts of the old poor and the new poor help explore channels of inclusion and exclusion underscoring that the poor’s vulnerabilities are defined by different regimes of informality.

This talk will touch briefly on some of the material presented in the speaker’s book City of Shadows, while attempting to problematize informality’s complex relationship to contemporary theories of class and political agency. A particular focus will be that urban theorizations widely use the concept of space as a window to urban marginalities, but typically emptied of the concept of class: how far does space help us to understand the urban poor’s vulnerabilities?

About the Speaker

Supriya Roy Chowdhury was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata, and at Princeton University. She is currently Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. Earlier she taught at the ISEC, Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, and worked as Deputy Editor, The Hindu. Her research interests span labour, trade unions, urban poverty, and migration. She has published in the Journal of Development Studies, Third World Quarterly, Pacific Affairs, Economic and Political Weekly, Socialist Register, as well as contributed to several edited volumes. Her book, “City of Shadows: Slums and Informal Work in Bangalore”, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021.

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