India nurtures a contradiction between two images of its cities—they are the engines of economic growth and, at the same time, an inadequate and contested space for its various residents and subjects. Migrants and the Neoliberal City, a culmination of the research conducted by the Calcutta Research Group on rural migrants as the core of the urban poor in India, shows us why and how this contradiction plays out in the lives of migrants, on whose labour the city thrives.
This collection of twelve essays, based on extensive research and fieldwork, investigates the experience of migrating to three of India’s populous metropolitan cities: Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. They focus on the interrelations between urban policy, governance, forms of labour, migration, and neoliberalism as the political ideology motivating increasing urbanisation of India. It also shows how cities are increasingly turning into sites of conflict, fragmentation and gentrification, fragmentation and acute class conflict.
Since the migrant is central to neoliberal urban development and migrant labour is critical to the transformation of the city, their position in the informal, unorganised sector and their vulnerability to violence makes migrant labour and life precarious. This book documents and examines the coping strategies of such migrants, new forms of urban struggles, and resistances to legal and policy regimes. Focusing on the connections between the material conditions of labour and specific issues such as old age, rent, wage forms, etc., this book also shows how the recruitment and dispersal of this migrant labour in turn restructures urban spaces.
An important addition to the growing literature on Indian urbanism and urbanisation, this book will interest policy analysts and students and scholars of sociology, migration studies, development studies, urban studies and geography.
List of Tables, Figures and Box
List of Abbreviations
Introduction by Ranabir Samaddar
Part I: KOLKATA
Part II: MUMBAI
Part III: DELHI
Notes on Contributors