Caste at the City’s Edge: Land Struggles in Peri-urban Bengaluru

Upadhya, Carol and Rathod, SachinKumar (2021) Caste at the City’s Edge: Land Struggles in Peri-urban Bengaluru. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academy Journal, 26. pp. 1-28.

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Abstract: Building on recent literature that explores how the social logics of older agrarian formations are refracted in processes of urbanization, the paper foregrounds the significance of caste in rapidly changing peri-urban spaces. Drawing on extended fieldwork in several villages on the outskirts of Bengaluru, it shows how the twin scaffoldings of agrarian society—caste and land—are reconfigured as the values of land change in this zone of transition. Caste identity not only structures who can participate in, or prosper from, the transformation of agrarian land into urban real estate—it is also refashioned and deployed in new ways, especially through the politics of land. This study demonstrates why caste should be understood as a social structure of accumulation, whose specific modes of operation are defined by regionally rooted histories of development and memories of oppression and struggle. This paper draws on fieldwork carried out between 2017 and 2020 as part of the project “Speculative Urbanism: Land, Livelihoods, and Finance Capital,” in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, funded by the National Science Foundation [grant number BCS-1636437]. We thank our colleagues Vinay Gidwani, Michael Goldman, Hemangini Gupta, Eric Sheppard, Helga Leitner, and other members of the research team for many discussions and debates. Earlier versions of the paper were presented at the Third Annual Research Conference of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bengaluru, January 10–12, 2019; in the panel on The Peri-urban Question: Renewing Concepts and Categories at RC21@Delhi, September 18–20, 2019; and at the French Institute of Pondicherry, February 13, 2020. We are grateful to the organizers and participants of those conferences for their valuable feedback, as well as to the anonymous referees for their constructive comments. All photos are by Pierre Hauser, who we sincerely thank for allowing us to use his work.
Item Type: Journal Paper
Keywords: Agrarian transition, Peri-urban, Land markets, Caste, Bengaluru, India, Accumulation
Subjects: School of Social Sciences > Sociology
Programmes > Urban and Mobility Studies
Date Deposited: 08 May 2021 12:01
Last Modified: 08 May 2021 12:01
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    Funders: National Science Foundation [grant number BCS-1636437]
    Projects: Project: Speculative Urbanism: Land, Livelihoods, and Finance Capital, Collaboration: University of Minnesota

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