UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Absent societies: Contouring urban citizenship in postcolonial Chennai

Arabindoo, P; (2008) Absent societies: Contouring urban citizenship in postcolonial Chennai. Doctoral thesis , London School of Economics and Political Science. Green open access

[thumbnail of 090703-05.pdf]
Preview
Text
090703-05.pdf

Download (8MB) | Preview

Abstract

This thesis contours the dynamics of urban citizenship in a postcolonial city, against a cautionary note that such cities are undergoing a unique metamorphosis triggered by the national pursuit of neo-liberalisation policies. In an existing condition of sharply divided geographies, postcolonial cities, by becoming key portals to the flows of trans-nationalised capital, are being subject to a spatial reordering resulting in heightened forms of socio-economic inequality. Amidst a reduced terrain of common allegiances, neo-liberal citizenship rejects the ideal of commensurable citizens and is more conducive to a bourgeois ethic of right, which now defines the cityscape. In this regard, the research examines the construction of urban citizenship by Indian middle class homeowners in the southern metropolis of Chennai. Residents were interviewed on two main issues – their use of residents’ associations as a means of collective action and their operation in the realm of civil society, and their adoption of a ‘pristine’ vocabulary in the re-imagination of the public spaces, mainly the beaches, in the city. Their responses are analysed against the state’s pursuit of a new form of urban developmentalism to establish how they complement each other. This reveals that – oscillating between socio-political absenteeism and active citizenship – the political engagement of the Indian middle class is paradoxically through a process of ‘depoliticisation’. While there is concern about the middle class’s earlier practiced politics of indifference morphing into a politics of intolerance, this research finds that their bourgeois discourse of citizenship, hinging together the notion of propriety and property, comes across as weak and flawed, one that is exclusive but easily contested.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Absent societies: Contouring urban citizenship in postcolonial Chennai
Event: London School of Economics and Political Science
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Keywords: Chennai, middle class, urban citizenship, residents welfare associations (RWAs), public spaces
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524156
Downloads since deposit
420Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item