“Propertied Ambiguity”: Negotiating the State in a Delhi Resettlement Colony

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This chapter focuses on "corruption from below" in a Delhi resettlement colony - or residents' own attempts to re-establish political patronage and brokerage in response to perceived disenfranchisement from state benefits and institutional access - in an attempt to understand how this produces new and different relationships with the state. The rule of law and perceptions of (dis)order in the settlement are common topics of discussion, and often serve as key markers by which people, who have been forcibly evicted from informal settlements, or bastis1 in Delhi, deem the resettlement colony to be outside of the purview of legitimate state institutions. In particular, respondants often portray the local political situation as one mired in avarice, self-interest, and outright corruption - a supposed far cry from their lives in Delhi and the perceived access to "honourable" state actors. Based on narratives of every-day corruption and brokerage, I argue that residents find ways to secure entitlements, such as ration cards, through their own channels and thus depict such endeavours as the necessary counter to state inattention and neglect.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpace, Planning and Everyday Contestations in Delhi
EditorsSurajit Chakravarty, Rohit Negi
Place of PublicationIndia
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-81-322-2153-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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