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Does Citizenship Abate Class?

Evidence and Reflections from a South Indian City

Ebony Bertorelli (ebony.bertorelli@gmail.com) was, at the time of writing, with Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Bengaluru. Patrick Heller (patrick_heller@brown.edu) teaches at Brown University, United States. Siddharth Swaminathan (siddharth.swaminathan@apu.edu.in) is a political scientist at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. Ashutosh Varshney (ashutosh_varshney@brown.edu) teaches Political Science at Brown University, United States.

Drawing on data from a large household survey in Bengaluru, this paper explores the quality of urban citizenship. Addressing theories that have tied the depth of democracy to the quality and effectiveness of citizenship, we develop an index of citizenship and then explore the extent to which citizenship determines the quality of services and infrastructure that households enjoy. Findings show that citizenship and access to services in Bengaluru are highly differentiated, that much of what drives these differences has to do with class, but there is clear evidence that the urban poor are somewhat better in terms of the services they receive than they would be without citizenship. Citizenship, in other words, abates the effects of class.

For discussion and comments, the authors would like to thank Mukulika Bannerjee, Suraj Jacob, Niraja Jayal, Atul Kohli, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, David Lindstrom, John Logan, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Narendar Pani, Katie Pyle, Ramesh Ramanathan, Swati Ramanathan, and Gayatri Singh. Funding for this project came from Janaagraha and the Offi ce of the Vice President for Research, Brown University

Updated On : 11th Aug, 2017

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