The city that does not want to be known: Information politics and elite informality in India

Authors: Ashima Sood*, Anant National University
Topics: Quantitative Methods, Qualitative Methods, Urban Geography
Keywords: Geography, Positivism, Information Politics, Informality, India
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 23
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

If informality is the mode by which Indian cities are planned (Roy 2009, 2011), how do we comprehend its operation? While critical urban scholarship in India has begun to pay attention to the tacit knowledge(s) that underlie subaltern modes of urban informality (Singh 2020), elite informality has proved more resistant to interrogation. Investigating private forms of government in growth enclaves located in cities such as Bokaro and Hyderabad, this paper outlines the knowledge and data gaps elite informality produces in its wake. Information politics, i.e., the distribution of informational resources, risks and rewards (Kennedy et al 2020) mediate what can be known about informal modes of governance. Official data sources thereby yield conjectural narrative “traces” (Allums 2020); instead, elite informality makes itself visible in the concrete hazards visited upon the most vulnerable populations.

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