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Title: Subaltern counter-urbanism : dynamics of urban and industrial change in Gurgaon, India's millennium city
Author: Cowan, Thomas Grant
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 9033
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Since the liberalisation of the economy in the early 1990s, India has experienced rapid urbanisation which has received a wealth of scholarly research and debate. There is now growing interest in the private sector led models of urbanisation unfolding across the country. Gurgaon, a city in the north Indian state of Haryana, has been almost exclusively planned, developed and governed by the private sector and as such is seen as a prototype of the Greenfield urban developments of the contemporary period. Nevertheless the city's urbanisation has not yet received scholarly attention at great length. In this thesis I will explore how transformations in the political economy of land and labour in Gurgaon played a crucial role in facilitating and shaping the city's urbanisation. To do so I carry out semi-structured interview and ethnography of land and labour in the city. First through ethnography and interview in Gurgaon's urban villages, I explore how the city's agrarian transition hinged upon the partial integration of the region's peasant agriculturalists into urban land markets. I will explore how this partial integration, facilitated by the enclaving of landowners' residential property, mediates the city's truncated political economy, shapes new rentier subjectivities and produces distinct spatial and social disjunctures among the city's peasant-rentier classes. Second, I will explore how new production-social reproduction geographies in the city intersect with and are interrupted by the gendered discourses and material practices of work. In doing so I am interested in exploring how new modes of industrial accumulation, that vitalise rentier economies across the city, are laminated and intersected by workers' cultural and material practices. Finally, I explore how the hedging of rentier interests in manufacturing, and the disorderly and gendered reproduction of labour in the city articulate together to produce nascent and discrete modes of urban politics engaged in by the city's female migrant workforce. In engaging in Gurgaon's urbanisation through these three points- land, labour and urban politics -I seek to explore the role of social difference in mediating and disrupting the city's continued reproduction. In doing so I mobilise a relational dialectical approach (Hart 2016) which builds on Lefebvre's (1991) critique of abstract space and feminist and postcolonial scholars' attention to cultural and material practices (Chari and Gidwani, 2005; Mitchell et al., 2004) to sketch out the open, dialectical relationships between abstract categories of capitalist urbanisation and their disorderly, differential concrete conditions.
Supervisor: Loftus, Alexander John ; Kapila, Kriti ; Potts, Deborah Helen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available