This article is concerned with informality-state relations, subaltern politics and citizenship in the context of the urban redevelopment regime. Based on an empirical study of an NGO (SPARC)-mediated resettlement of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in Mumbai, it explicates the incomplete ‘civilizing of the political society’ which engenders asymmetrical material and leadership enablement and differential subjectivities at the community levels. The state co-opts SPARC’s institutional framework to mediate resettlement, engender limited traversal from ‘population’ to ‘citizen’, restrict democratic liberation and subject the PAPs to bifold governance against the antagonistic articulations of state-subaltern relations, viz. ‘political society’ and ‘deep democracy’. SPARC’s institutional claims of inclusion and community-centric resettlement, non-confrontational negotiations and politics of patience are materialized through institutional coercion, domesticated confrontations and inadequate compensation, and are augmented by the PAPs’ calculative rationalities, fear of homelessness and anticipation of urban citizenship. Against this backdrop and amid further post-resettlement marginalities that complicate housing-based ‘substantive citizenship’ and ‘political society’-based mediation, this article calls for a re-politicization of the redevelopment discourse to seek alternate possibilities of urban citizenship for the urban subaltern.
- Socialt arbete