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A slum assemblage in Mumbai: emergence, organization and sociospatial morphology

Cooper, R; (2012) A slum assemblage in Mumbai: emergence, organization and sociospatial morphology. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Despite the current proliferation of research on slums, there remains an impasse in our ability to represent and understand informal residential settlements. This is largely due to the complexity and malleability of slums in the context of globalized flows of people, neoliberal economic and political restructuring, and processes of social marginalization and conflict. This thesis thus addresses the intellectual, representational, and political complexities associated with the global proliferation of slums so as to facilitate more just and egalitarian societies. As such, the aim of the study is to identify and examine emergent factors that contribute to social injustice and inequality in the context of ever transforming spatial, social, economic, and political processes. To do so, it examines the emergence, organization, and socio-spatial morphology of Ganesh Murthy Nagar, a squatter settlement in Mumbai, India. Conceptually, the framework guiding my study is based on Deleuzoguattarian thought and draws upon assemblage theory in relation to contemporary research in critical Urban Studies. My methodology is oriented towards thick empirical description and addresses historical, ethnographic, and developmental perspectives. This approach contributes to three specific objectives of the thesis: to identify the functional components of the settlement-assemblage and trace their emergence and evolution in time; to map the constitutive associations inherent in the ordering of these components in and beyond the settlement; and to determine the components’ constraining and enabling effects on other components in the assemblage. My findings suggest that State policies promoting participatory governance have triggered the emergence of social hierarchies and the centralization of power within the settlement. In collusion with other endogenous social networks and State actors, a defensible space of dominance has been established that continues to assemble power from diverse relationships with developmental partners. Rather than advancing the positive potential of interventions, weaknesses with slum policies and their implementation have contributed to a settlement with unequal and unjust relations, a fragmented populace, and pervasive feelings of fear.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:A slum assemblage in Mumbai: emergence, organization and sociospatial morphology
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit

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