ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Karen Coelho

Urban Concerns: An Introduction

This is the first issue of a new biannual, the Review of Urban Affairs. The RUA will contain articles that look at different aspects of urbanisation in the context of the growing importance of "urban society" in India and elsewhere in the world. The review will be guided by an external advisory group which will suggest themes, commission articles and have them reviewed/revised before publication.

Salvaging and Scapegoating: Slum Evictions on Chennai's Waterways

The latest Cooum river restoration project in Chennai aims to focus on slum eviction as an achievable first step. A 19-kilometre elevated expressway on the river is also planned. Together estimated to displace over 18,000 families from the banks of the Cooum, these two projects testify to how waterfront development, beautification, and eco-restoration, along with high-end infrastructure serve multiple purposes - both as direct strategies for capital accumulation through real estate value, as well as idioms through which cities position themselves in the global arena.

The Politics of Civil Society: Neighbourhood Associationism in Chennai

Scholarly work portrays Residents Welfare Associations as constituting an exclusively middle class "civil society" in urban polities structured overwhelmingly by class. In this view, rwas belong to a new politics representing an emerging partnership between civil society, the reforming state and private capital, aimed at reclaiming urban governance from the messy dealings of electoral democracy. The urban poor, meanwhile, are perceived as organised predominantly through the sphere of politics. This paper, using survey and ethnographic data on neighbourhood associations in Chennai, argues that these accounts are over-schematised. There are considerable overlaps between civil and political society: the urban poor increasingly resort to civil associational forms to claim urban citizenship, and middle class associations are more deeply engaged with the sphere of formal politics than their own or scholarly accounts convey.