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

Migrants and the CitySubscribe to Migrants and the City

Sleepless in Mumbai

The anti-migrant political environment in the city of Mumbai has created a confused sociopolitical and economic environment, where the migrant worker, essential to manufacturing and service provision, is able to find work, but is unwelcome in terms of occupying physical, social, political and cultural spaces in the city. The paper attempts to bring this contradiction to the fore through a study of elderly migrant labour employed in the private security provision industry. From the study it becomes apparent that the reality of the lives of workers is shaped by factors beyond work and wages. Their living conditions, inability to cope with any exigency, including illness or death, the atomised lives that they lead in the city in comparison to the villages, and absence of social security or access to quality welfare services force these workers and their families to live in precarious conditions.

Recycling the Urban

The paper explores the interfaces of urbanisation, settlement practices, and issues of labour migration and displacement in contemporary Kolkata. It starts with interrogating a historical narrative of urbanisation and zoning practices in the city in the 1960s and picks out few threads which still seem relevant in studies of contemporary modes of urbanisation. It studies in some detail the practice of "thika tenancy" in the Kolkata slums--the most prominent site of habitation of the migrant workers in the city. It challenges the hypothesis of the "bypass model" of urbanisation in Kolkata and introduces the concept of "urban recycling," which facilitates a continuous juxtaposition of displacement and accumulation of human and other resources as part of the urbanisation process.

Migrant and the Neo-liberal City

The neo-liberal envisioning of cities and the accompanying hyper-commodification of land and new forms of social marginalisation have increased precarity among migrant labour, severely impairing their ability to negotiate the city space and society at large. This set of four studies, conducted in Mumbai and Kolkata, brings to the fore the relationship between labour and urban space, the fundamental problematic in the emergence of the neo-liberal city. Though playing a critical role in the neo-liberal restructuring of urban space, the migrants have been targeted by state agencies and sections of civil society, who find it difficult to accommodate them within the physical, social, political and cultural spaces of the city.

Homeless Migrants in Mumbai

Based on empirical work in Mumbai, this article enquires into experiences of homelessness of migrants to the city. It tries to locate these experiences within the larger processes of the neo-liberal envisioning of Mumbai as a global city, the ever-growing informalisation of labour, and displacement and inadequate resettlement of people, resulting in restricted access to affordable housing, services, workspaces and social welfare. The analyses expose how the homeless migrants perpetually suffer from the condition of suspended citizenship, lead their everyday domestic life under public gaze, face violence and also confront civil society's increasing assertion for rights over public spaces.

Street Dwelling and City Space

This article tracks the life and work of the migrant female waste pickers in Kolkata. A few recent works have pursued the question of NGO-isation and unionisation among them at length. However, none of these works emphasise or discuss the spatial dimension of the dwelling places of this occupation group. The relationship between the contingencies of their occupation and the question of social reproduction is also explored here.
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