Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India's Urban Slums (VIRTUAL)
Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University
Kellogg Institute Former Visiting Fellow (2013-14)
India's urban slums exhibit dramatic variation in their access to local public goods and services - paved roads, piped water, trash removal, sewers, and streetlights. Why are some vulnerable communities able to demand and secure development from the state while others fail? Former Visiting Fellow Adam Auerbach presents a talk on his book Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India's Urban Slums (Cambridge University Press, 2019), on which he worked during his time at Kellogg. Drawing on more than two years of fieldwork in the north Indian cities of Bhopal and Jaipur, the book accounts for the uneven success of India's slum residents in securing local public goods and services. His theory centers on the political organization of slum settlements and the informal slum leaders who spearhead resident efforts to make claims on the state – in particular, those slum leaders who are party workers. He finds striking variation in the extent to which networks of party workers have spread across slum settlements. His book shows how this variation in the density and partisan distribution of party workers across settlements has powerful consequences for the ability of residents to politically mobilize to improve local conditions.
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