Table Topics: DiverCities. Gentrification, Social Mobility and Public Spaces (Qudsiya Contractor )
Gentrification in Indian cities has been used variously by scholars to describe an array of urban transformations from slum demolitions to land privatization; from labour market induced displacement to the overall restructuring of cities. The post-colonial Indian city has followed its own trajectory into the spatial fix of capitalism that has shaped urban transformations, Mumbai being a good illustration. However, these transformations have not just been outcomes of capital accumulation and class-based displacement but also socio-political contestations over urban space involving the entrepreneurial state, elite power and subaltern aspirations. These contestations have often been violent and xenophobic (especially towards Muslims) having transformed the socio-spatial landscape of the city. My own research engagement for the past several years has been with Mumbai’s Muslim working-class neighbourhoods or ‘slums’, to understand these as sites of socio-spatial exclusion as well as socio-cultural innovation aimed at the redistribution of social goods and opportunities. For the round table, I would like to discuss how gentrification could be understood from different contexts? How do different social groups experience gentrification? What are the challenges of gentrification in the Global South?
Qudsiya Contractor is Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai where her teaching and research engagements involve understanding social exclusion and the challenges of addressing it in India. She is currently working on a book based on her doctoral research that focuses on how everyday processes of exclusion as well as political violence construct urban localities and religious identities in contemporary Mumbai.