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

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Revisiting the City–Capital Symbiosis

Claims to ‘City’zenship in the Contemporary Indian City

The urban is related to the capital through the very notion of accumulation. What goes into building the urban, both materially and perceptively is the accumulated capital, which in turn gets both (re)produced and consumed within the same set-up. The present circulation and accumulation of global capital has resulted in the creation of First World spaces within Third World cities, heterotopias which complicate claims to urban “city”zenships. The emergence of capital-infected cities and heterotopias is explored along with differential claims to urban “city”zenship using an interface with the Indian city as a context.

The author would like to express her gratitude to the anonymous referee of this paper, to B S Butola and Sarfaraz Alam for supervision and guidance during the research work, the Indian Council for Social Science Research for a postdoctoral fellowship, and the Banaras Hindu University for allowing access to various academic resources.

The urban in the recent Indian context has come to occupy a very significant space. As expectations from the city are rising, it is becoming a more complicated space of existence so much so that an absurd urge has emerged to foresee the other end of this prevailing madness. Presently, as human, one is existing within furiously fast times, that is, within space-time shrinkages. And, one has reached this stage through an attempt to attain space-time continuums. Thus, it is time one stopped and looked around, rather than looking behind. It is time one identified the unsophistications within the sophistications, the unfreedoms around the freedoms, and the denials among the rights.

This paper is an attempt to explore the emergence of capital-infected cities and heterotopias along with differential claims to urban “city”zenship. This is realised through revisiting the city–capital interrelationship by engaging with the ideas of Karl Marx, Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey and Thomas Piketty among others. The rationale behind undertaking this exercise is an understanding of the contemporary situation within Indian cities that are undoubtedly experiencing an untamed injection of capital and rampant exclusions.

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Updated On : 23rd Dec, 2019
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