Techno-Political Resource Grab and Spatial-Flows of Resistance in Democratic Societies

Authors: Taru Taru*, University of Michigan
Topics: Asia, Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography
Keywords: Politics, South-Asia, Infrastructure, Class, Resource-grab
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Virginia C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper analyzes the state's use of 'technological' discourse and the rhetoric of “inclusive development” to legitimize land-acquisition. Planning mechanisms engender legitimization processes through bureaucratic sanctions to attempt to socially engineer marginalized communities. To examine this shifting legal and bureaucratic terrain, we look at two cases from India: a) Kathputli Colony Redevelopment Project b) Ranchi Smart City Project. In the case of Kathputli Colony, as part of the "Slum-free City Planning" initiative, Delhi Development Authority applied the toolkits of Transit-Oriented Development and Public-Private partnership to ostensibly solve the city’s housing question has in turn catered to the urban growth coalition and subverted land to the middle class from the 'illegal' land occupiers. The Ranchi Smart City Project in the state of Jharkhand, on the other hand, seeks to displace the indigenous/worker communities from the Dhurwa-Jagannathpur region for 'development', leading to a systemic narrative of techno-structure based displacement and resettlement in the region. Both these cases depict the pervasive restructuring of the spatial domains of the marginalized population across two diverse socio-economic settings.

The research uses primary research (newspapers, interviews and critical mapping), along with parallel cases in literature and subaltern theories to understand the shifts within the rhetoric of resource grab and the methods of resistance within the emerging network society. It historicizes the process of techno-structural land-grab in the post-independence India, even as it studies the current day use of “space of flows” to find new networks of assembly and disassembly of power and class resistance in contemporary India.

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