Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Abstract 2012 Alva Bonaker

Alva Bonaker, Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research GmbH, Berlin


Rural‐Urban Linkages in the broader Region of Hyderabad

The enormous growth of the South Indian metropolis of Hyderabad, which is caused by constant rural‐urban migration, has various consequences for the city but also for the surrounding region. In fact, around 30 per cent of the Hyderabad population are migrants. Regarding the huge scale of the phenomenon some questions subsequently arise: Do these people actually become an integral part of the city or do they rather keep their lives centred around their places of origin? How do the rural‐urban linkages function? (How) do these linkages and the fast technical progress in the city influence the village life? Such questions emphasise the crucial importance of the social aspects of rural‐urban migration and linkages for the development in the city as well as in the villages. Thus, we are convinced that these linkages and ‘multi‐local’ livelihood strategies demand more consideration in the debate on urbanism, mobility and migration. In the context of sustainable megacity development the study on rural‐urban linkages in the broader region of Hyderabad, forms an essential part of research within the Indo‐German project “Sustainable Hyderabad”. The interdisciplinary research, including literature review as well as empirical research (interviews with migrants of different groups and local experts in Hyderabad), was conducted as part of two dissertations and an ongoing social study.

Considering that phenomena such as circular migration and community networks exist disconnected from spatial boundaries, as Steinbrink (2009) suggests in his concept of translocal livelihood strategies, the study focuses on translocality rather than merely on migration. Going beyond conventional migration studies that analyse the moving of people from one place to another, it also takes into account that many people are part of the city and the place of origin at the same time.

Analysing the motivations for migration, patterns of migration and the livelihood strategies of the people/communities involved the study presents a typology for the region of Greater Hyderabad. With the help of these types it is possible to identify societal structures such as close personal linkages and vivid exchange systems between rural and urban areas as well as differences between the generations regarding the emotional bonds to the place of origin. In the case of Hyderabad the linkages are very intense, but varying in form according to the socio‐economic position of the people involved. Though they constitute a big share, not only poor agricultural labours or small farmers migrate in search for securing their survival, but different kind of people move to the city searching for education, work, marriage or driven by other motivations. The central finding of the study is that migration is not a single action beginning at a certain point of time and ending at a certain point of time. The rural‐urban linkages rather influence the lives of many citizens constantly. This has an impact on life in the villages as well as on cohabitation in the city where life is partly influenced by rural lifestyles.

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