“When We Demand Our Share of This World”: Struggles for Space, New Possibilities of Planning, and Municipalist Politics In Mumbai

This dissertation responds to the call for renewed theorization of the Indian city from the perspective of urban politics—the place of social mobilization, spatial politics, and articulations of social subjectivity and heterogeneity. It seeks to write urban history from a politics of plurality, of the experiences and knowledges that have emerged in Bombay/Mumbai, ones that have been simultaneously the basis of governmental control and planning as well as overshadowed as the productive force of urban society. 

I investigate recent and unprecedented urban mobilizations over the city's forthcoming twenty-year Development Plan (2014–2034). It applies a variety of ethnographic field methods to investigate Hamara Shehar Vikas Niyojan Abhiyan, a diverse class, caste, and religious consortium of slum dwellers and informal workers, planners, architects, and activists who have come together to articulate a broad vision of inclusive urban development. The research asks: How and why do broad but differentiated sectors of urban society come together to challenge institutions of urban governance?

Chapter 1
Struggles for Space: Rethinking Urban Development in Bombay/Mumbai
Part I: ‘The Cinderella of English Settlements In India’
Part II: The Fabric of Worker’s Urban Culture And Power
Part III: Post-Independence Bombay

Chapter 2
Rethinking Urban Informality: Unusable Categories of Indian Political Thought

Interlude
Anthropologies of Planning

Chapter 3
“When we demand our share of this world”: Hamara Shehar Mumbai and New Municipal Politics

Chapter 4
Urban Commons and Counter Planning

Chapter 5
Rethinking Subaltern Urban Theory: Spatial Justice and Political Possibility

Conclusion
Spatial Justice and the New Urban Question in India