Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Conference Programme 2012

Beyond the Metropolis: Implications of Urbanisation in Towns and Small Cities in South Asia

14-16 June 2012; Venue: South Asia Institute, Heidelberg

Thursday, 14th June 2012

Keynote 18.00

Dr Andrew Sanchez (Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science): Beyond Formal Privilege: Rethinking Class in Urban India

Friday, 15th June 2012

9.30- 9.45: Welcome and Introduction to the Workshop

9.45-11.15: Panel 1: Governance and Administration

Chair: Professor Subrata Mitra (Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)

Discussant: Professor Martin Fuchs (Max-Weber Kolleg, Universität Erfurt)

Remi deBercegol (Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires, Sociétés; École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées/Paris-Est): The Emergence of Municipalities

Sabil Francis (Research Academy Leipzig, Leipzig University): New Paradigms of Urban Governance

11.15-11.30: Coffeebreak

11.30-13.00: Panel 2: Subaltern Perspectives

Chair: Professor Gita Dharampal-Frick (Department of History, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)

Discussant: Professor Roger Jeffery (School of Social and Poltical Science, University of Edinburgh)

Dr Christian Struempell (Department of Anthropology, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University): Between the Ruhr Valley and Rourkela: Contextualizing Nehru's Industrial New Towns

Kalyan Shankar (Symbiosis School of Economics, Pune): Migratory Patterns of Female Sex Workers in the Hierarchy of Urbanity in India

13.00-14.30: Lunchbreak

14.30-16.00: Panel 3: Narratives of Urbanism

Chair: Professor Hans Harder (Department for Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)

Discussant: Professor Valerian Rodrigues (School of Social Sciences, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi)

Shashikala Assella (Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham): Sri Lankan Women in American Writing

Jana Koshy (Department of Anthropology,Cologne University): Contesting Realities: “Urbanisation” and its Implications for the Construction of Social Realities

16.00-16.15: Coffeebreak

16.15-17.45: Panel 4: Centre and Periphery

Chair: Professor Martin Fuchs (Max-Weber Kolleg, Universität Erfurt)

Discussant: Dr Jiva Schoettli (Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)

Alva Bonaker (Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research GmbH, Berlin): Rural‐urban Linkages in the broader Region of Hyderabad

Anne Mossner (Department for Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University): Anti-Hindi Agitation in the Madras Hinterland

Saturday, 16th June 2012

9.45-11.30: Panel 5: Provincial Politics

Chair: Professor Ravi Ahuja (Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Universität Göttingen)

Discussant: Dr Nitin Sinha (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)

David Devadas (Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University Berlin): Exclusion and Inclusion: Emergent Middle Classes in Kashmir's Suburb

Jennifer Meyer-Ueding (Department forAgricultural Economics, Humboldt University Berlin): Urban Members' Organizations?

11.30-11.45: Coffeebreak

11.45-13.15: Panel 6: Vernacular Urbanism

Chair: Professor Roger Jeffery (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinbirgh)

Discussant: Professor Anupama Rao (Department of History, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York)

Pragya Dhital (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London): Hidden Transcripts, Hidden Complicities?

Rafael Kloeber (Department of History, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University): Beyond Dominant Hinduism: Saiva Siddhanta Institutions in Coimbatore

13.15-14.30: Lunchbreak

14.30-16.00: Roundtable Discussion

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Abstract 2012 Remi de Bercegol

Remi de Bercegol, Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires, Sociétés; École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris-Est

The Emergence of Municipalities

This Ph.D research aims to analyse the new political and technical arrangements in small towns governance, especially regarding the management of publics basic services, since decentralisation reforms in India. Various research projects have dealt with these subjects in rural areas and large metropolises but little attention has been paid to the same issues in smaller urban settlements. Yet more than half of the urban population in India lives in these towns. There has been a bias within Indian urban studies against small towns, because the idea of “urban” has always designated large urban settlements. This scientific disinterest translates into a more characteristic way of thinking about the urbanization process and resource allocation in India where big cities have been glorified as part of “Shining India”, while at the same time forgetting the rest of urban India. For this thesis, a sample survey has been conducted in a few selected towns comprising around 20,000 inhabitants in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The fieldwork has focused on urban local bodies and interviews has been conducted conducted with political leaders, government officials appointed at different levels (local, regional and state) and other actors such as engineers. Other interviews have been conducted with citizens as users to verify the information collected on effective service delivery and to understand what their relationships are with elected public servants and service providers. The results of the study gives a a good view of the institutional building process consequent to decentralisation reform and the municipality emergence in small towns.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Abstract 2012 Sabil Francis

Sabil Francis, Research Academy Leipzig, Leipzig University


New Paradigms of Urban Governance

The rise of the knowledge society creates new dynamics in urban governance issues. The emergence of a innovative elite, based on technologically mediated business practices - information technology, the service industry, bio-technology, has led to conflict with older, traditional power elites. Using the city of Kochi (Cochin) in the state of Kerala, India as a case study my paper looks at how urban power politics in the city has been impacted by the rise of a knowledge economy elite. Specifically, I focus on the politics revolving around the SmartCity Kochi project (started 2008. This planned IT Township is part of a strategy to construct a substantial network of knowledge-based industry townships across the world, and comprises a single SEZ of 246 acres of land. Other projects of the same venture include SmartCity Malta, and SmartCity Dubai.

Adapting the classic idea of land based elite competition of Molotch (Molotch,1976) I shall examine how conflict arises not only over land, but also around differing paradigms of urban governance - such as the need for efficiency and infrastructure that have their roots in the demands of a knowledge economy. In the extant literature, concepts such as knowledge for Development (K4D), while widely used (see for e.g. United Nations, 2005; UNESCO, 1998, 2005, 2007; World Bank, 2002) are under-defined, tending to take definitions of the knowledge society and its multi-polar connection with development and its impact on sovereignty, for granted. In reality these are aspects of globalization that remain unexplored. In reality, the debate around these issues reflects intense socio-spatial struggles where the redefinition and reconfiguration of spatial scales of governance in various areas remains a central issue. Cities like Kochi (Cochin) reveal transnational clusters of innovation and entrepreneurship that challenge conceptions of sovereignty and the state (Bentley, 1999, 2001; Preston, 1997: 86-88). They also lead to a re-configuring of notions of political and cultural identity (Preston, 1997: 77-94). The focus will be on the interaction between the local, the national and the global in the context of the knowledge economy, exemplified by the tortuous negotiations to create “Smart City” in Kochi, its impact on local issues such as land, city-planning, mobility and migration to and from Kochi, and issues of governance.

The rise of a transnational knowledge society redefines both the metropolis and the periphery, including the economic, social and cultural structures of the post colonial state and the political economy of regions. How are the members of a knowledge society “actors” or “stakeholders” in this process? How do traditional elites respond to the new dynamics in urban governance? How far does the local impact the wider political power structure and discourse of governance? How does locally rooted power co exist and conflict with a non-territorialized knowledge society that, at the same time, creates new orders of power? These are the key questions I seek to explore.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Abstract 2012 Christian Strümpell

Christian Strümpell, Department of Anthropology, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University


The Steel Town Rourkela: Frontier of Modernity in the Jungles of Odisha

Steel occupies a pivotal place in India’s national imagination. Steel is an essential requirement for a “modern” economy and without the latter, Nehru and others envisioned, India would be unable to protect herself from the aggressive expansionism of the industrialized world. “Industrialize or perish” was the slogan in India after Independence. Gigantic steel plants were established in the sparsely populated, but mineral-rich hills in central India and owned and managed by the state. Since the local rural population lacked industrial training the steel plants were manned with workforces drawn from all corners of the country that were to be accommodated in newly established planned townships adjacent to the steel plants. Because these places were located in the peripheral “elsewhere” far from the metropolitan centres they offered the postcolonial state the opportunity to realise its vision of a modern, industrial, secular – and back then – also a ‘democratic-socialist’ India from scratch. This vision saw steel plants and townships as “mini-Indias”, as “melting pots” and exemplary sites for the nation’s unity in diversity. All this was supposed to take place in the erstwhile village Rourkela in western Odisha.

The aim of my paper is to provide an ethnographically informed understanding of the manifold dynamics around the processes of nation-building and place-making in the steel town Rourkela. This reveals that Rourkela never was simply an “elsewhere”, but that from the perspective of old workers who had come here to build the steel plant it was a “wilderness” that was to be civilized while for the provincial government it was place that was to be made an integral part of the state of Odisha, and that both agendas remain highly contested by the local, largely ‘tribal’ people who had been displaced for the whole complex in the 1950s.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Abstract 2012 Kalyan Shankar

Kalyan Shankar, Symbiosis School of Economics, Pune

Migratory Patterns of Female Sex Workers in the Hierarchy of Urbanity in India

The colonial Indian cities of Mumbai and Kolkata stake claim to the largest Red Light Areas in the country- in the form of Kamathipura and Sonagachi respectively. The spaces occupied by sex workers here are old urban pockets, often centrally located bearing witness to the expansion of urbanity across these mega-cities. If the origins of the women were to be traced, they very often are outsiders to the metropolis.

With backgrounds in poverty, they have had a tumultuous migratory past; with journeys that began in rural hinterlands and traversing through the urban hierarchies before reaching here.

Across urban centers in India, a Red Light Area has grown to be a commonly recognized spatial entity.

Typically associated with urban agglomerations, the term evokes a similar understanding when referring even to a lane in smaller urban centers. Thus, the term traverses fluidly through several scales of urbanization, differing only in area dimensions and scale of operations. There are several instances that can be identified to substantiate on this claim. In the belt that covers the borders between Maharashtra and Karnataka, two states in south-west India, clusters of women in prostitution -multilingual in nature and quite proficient at that, keep traversing back and forth across the smaller towns existing on state borders, not conforming with the linguistic division that formed the genesis of these states. There are certain patterns of movement that can be discerned, which are as follows:

(a) A circular urban flow of the women spanning semi-urban border centers across Maharashtra (Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Karad etc) and Karnataka (Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Hubli-Dharwad)

(b) A north-bound, cross-border flow from the northern Karnataka districts into the larger cities of Maharashtra like Pune and Mumbai

(c) A south-bound flow from the northern Karnataka districts into Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka

Understanding the precise nature of spatial journeys of sex workers would involve a closer scrutiny of the smaller towns through which they have journeyed. It has also been found that as women in sex work age, they slip down the urban ladder and start moving into the smaller towns where the competition for clients is less intense.

This paper seeks to study the smaller cities and the operations of sex work therein to understand the larger patterns of sex-work related migration. The paper would attempt to reveal the relationships between the satellite towns as well as far flung places and the attracting-shining Metropolis and the journeys of women in search of livelihoods.

The paper draws upon and builds its arguments using data collected from the interviews of 3000 sex workers across fourteen states as part of the first Pan India Survey of Sex Workers during 2008-09. The exercise was supervised by the authors and conducted under the aegis of Center for Advocacy on Stigma and Marginalization (CASAM), with the coordinated efforts of several grass-root organizations and groups working with women in sex work.