By Ananya Roy
Housing advancements emerge amid the paddy fields at the fringes of Calcutta; overflowing trains hold peasant ladies to casual city exertions markets in an everyday go back and forth opposed to starvation; land is settled and claimed in a fancy choreography of squatting and evictions: such, Ananya Roy contends, are the precise areas of a communism for the recent millennium-where, at a second of liberalization, the hegemony of poverty is quietly reproduced. An ethnography of city improvement in Calcutta, Roy's publication explores the dynamics of sophistication and gender within the endurance of poverty. urban Requiem, Calcutta emphasizes how gender itself is spatialized, and the way gender family are negotiated in the geopolitics of modernity and during the standard practices of territory. therefore Roy exhibits how city developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the family of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias. In doing so, her paintings expands the sphere of poverty reviews by means of exhibiting how a politics of poverty can also be a poverty of information, a building and administration of social and spatial different types. Ananya Roy is assistant professor of city experiences within the division of urban and local making plans on the college of California, Berkeley.
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Extra info for City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty (Globalization and Community)
In keeping with my focus on South Calcutta, I chose five railway stations at which to establish contacts with commuters: Jadavpur, Dhakuria, Baghajatin, Garia, and Kalighat. Given the South Calcutta locations, 100 percent of the commuter men and women I studied came from villages in South 24Parganas. As in the case of squatting, it soon became apparent that I was studying a set of linkages that had intensified during the last twenty years. The overwhelming majority of commuters whom I researched had started work in Calcutta during the last twelve to fifteen years.
What are the boundaries of the “field” within which distress migration can be usefully analyzed? Such were the questions I wrestled with at the start of this research project. I realized, for example, that it is clearly possible to use a village as the springboard for studying migration but, in West Bengal, this is quite tricky. Unlike circular migration where households retain rural bases, in the case of permanent migration households literally drop out from village profiles. The urban surveys indicate that this is precisely what is happening with rural landless households (Roy et al.
I present poverty as negotiated access, an ensemble of struggles over resources and meanings: the ways in which landless migrants and commuters negotiate tenuous access to urban shelter through political patronage; that this is simultaneously a negotiation within households and kinship networks; that the livelihoods and incomes of these families are intrinsically shaped by gendered battles over rights and responsibilities. It is in this sense that I put forth a relational rather than distributional understanding of poverty.
City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty (Globalization and Community) by Ananya Roy