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Housing in the Urban Age: Inequality and Aspiration in Mumbai

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Abstract:  In scholarly and popular texts, Mumbai is invoked as an iconic example of the problem of urban informal settlements in the twenty‐first century. While such representations oscillate between tropes of accommodation and marginalization, they often obfuscate the compromised and historical successes of settler politics in the city. In this paper, the authors use an international urbanization conference as a starting point for exploring Mumbai settlers’ housing practices. They examine the processes through which emergent forms of inclusion have been conceptually unhinged from longstanding struggles against inequality. By examining the complex interplay of housing politics, social mobilization, and municipal policy in Mumbai, the paper argues for more careful attention to new regimes of governing that accompany aspirations for “inclusion” in the cities of the urban age.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, Haverford College, Haverford, PA, USA; 2: Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University, New York, NY, USA;

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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