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Consent and Contention in Neoliberal Urban India

Edited by Karen Coelho, Lalitha Kamath, M. Vijayabaskar

Routledge India – 2013 – 332 pages

Series: Cities and the Urban Imperative

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    March 21st 2013


While participatory development has gained significance in urban planning and policy, it has been explored largely from the perspective of its prescriptive implementation. This book breaks new ground in critically examining the intended and unintended effects of the deployment of citizen participation and public consultation in neoliberal urban governance by the Indian state.

The book reveals how emerging formats of participation, as mandatory components of infrastructure projects, public–private partnership proposals and national urban governance policy frameworks, have embedded market-oriented reforms, promoted financialisation of cities, refashioned urban citizenship, privileged certain classes in urban governance at the expense of already marginalised ones, and thereby deepened the fragmentation of urban polities. It also shows how such deployments are rooted in the larger political economy of neoliberal reforms and ascendance of global finance, and how resultant exclusions and fractures in the urban society provoke insurgent mobilisations and subversions.

Offering a dialogue between scholars, policy-makers and activists, and drawing upon several case studies of urban development projects across sectors and cities, this volume will be useful for planners, policy-makers, academics, development professionals, social workers and activists, as well as those in urban studies, urban policy/planning, political science, sociology and development studies.


Acknowledgements. Part I. Introduction: Politics and Citizenship in India’s New ‘Urban’ 1. Opening up or Ushering in? Citizen Participation as Mandate and Practice in Urban Governance Karen Coelho, Lalitha Kamath and M. Vijayabaskar 2. Outside Capital, Inside the Urban? Notes and Queries on the Politics of the Present Satish Deshpande. Commentary 1. Permanence of the Temporary: Elite Utopia and Spatial Exclusion D. Ravikumar.Part II. Participation, Privatisation and Politics: Case Studies from Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad 3. Financialised and Insurgent: The Dialectics of Participation in Bangalore’s Neoliberal Water Reforms Malini Ranganathan 4. From Watertight to Watered Down: The Case of Public Consultations and People’s Participation in Mumbai’s Water Distribution Improvement Project (WDIP) Zainab Bawa 5. Community Participation and Political Legitimacy: A Case Study from Hyderabad Anant Maringanti. Commentary 2. Participation and Consultation in the Context of Municipal Infrastructure Financing K. Rajivan. Commentary 3. City Infrastructure Development and the ‘Spectator Sport’ of Citizen Participation Vinay Baindur.Part III. Class Claims: Civil Society and Split Citizenship in Urban India: Case Studies from Bangalore and Mumbai 6. Urban Reforms and the Middle Classes: Fragmented Collective Action and the Incomplete Project of Stakeholder Participation Lalitha Kamath and M. Vijayabaskar 7. Leveraging Mumbai: Global Finance, the State and Urban Politics Stephen J. Young. Commentary 4. Visioning a World-class Slum-free Mumbai: Who Participates? Simpreet Singh. Commentary 5. Middle-class Mobilisations: What Works? Sebastian Devaraj.Part IV. Democratisation, Decentralisation and Bhagidari: Case Studies from Delhi 8. Participation as a Support to Neo-populism? The Case of the Bhagidari Scheme Ste'phanie Tawa Lama-Rewal 9. RWAs and the Political Process in Delhi Diya Mehra. Commentary 6. Middle-class Mobilisations, Urban Reforms, and the Politics of Bhagidari: Observations from New Delhi Lalit Batra. Commentary 7. Direct Democracy versus Electoral Democracy: A View from Delhi K. T. Ravindran.Part V. Anatomies of Consultative Processes: Case Studies from Chennai 10 Public Performances: Enacting Citizenship through Public Consultation for Chennai’s Second Master Plan Rowan Ellis 11. The Messy Practice of Participation: Lessons from the City Development Plan (CDP) Review in Chennai Nithya V. Raman. Commentary 8. Consultations in Revising Chennai’s City Development Plan: Challenges and Insights M. G. Devasahayam. Commentary 9. No Public in Public Consultations Nityanand Jayaraman. Coda. Participolis: Protest and Participation in the City Amita Baviskar. About the Editors. Notes on Contributors. Index

Author Bio

Karen Coelho is Assistant Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Chennai.

Lalitha Kamath is Assistant Professor, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.

M. Vijayabaskar is Assistant Professor, MIDS, Chennai.

Name: Participolis: Consent and Contention in Neoliberal Urban India (Hardback)Routledge India 
Description: Edited by Karen Coelho, Lalitha Kamath, M. Vijayabaskar. While participatory development has gained significance in urban planning and policy, it has been explored largely from the perspective of its prescriptive implementation. This book breaks new ground in critically examining the intended and unintended...
Categories: Urban Studies, Development Studies, International Political Economy