1st Edition

Inclusion and Exclusion of the Urban Poor in Dhaka Power, Politics, and Planning

By Rasheda Khan Copyright 2024
    248 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Inclusion and Exclusion of the Urban Poor in Dhaka explores how the inhabitants of poor neighborhoods in Dhaka, Bangladesh, gain inclusion in the city at the face of exclusion. The book considers how the people of poor neighborhoods encounter the exclusionary behavior of city development, and how their inclusionary attempts have influenced the urban design.

    The book is presented in two parts: first, it explains how people in poor neighborhoods face exclusion because of the imbalance of power and politics. Second, it demonstrates how the existing exclusion of urban poor is affecting their strategies to gain access to urban services through people’s power and politics.  Focusing on the transdisciplinary field of urban anthropology, the chapters uncover the urban forces, policies and actions that facilitate urban politics. It also investigates the people who live in poor neighborhoods, who in the face of exclusion, have included themselves in urban development planning and design by employing diverse strategies against those forces in the urban politics, e.g., accepting dominance, bargaining, or having control over their lives. This book will recontextualize an ethnographic inquiry into the exclusion and inclusion of the people within city development design, plans and innovations in applications of anthropological theory and methodology.

    This book will encourage the reader to understand the politics of state’s development projects and plans, and furthermore instigate the city government, planners and policymakers to focus on the people's political power and agency that enables them to achieve inclusion. It will therefore be of interest to researchers and students of urban planning and development, urban geography, and urban anthropology, as well as planning professionals and policymakers.

    List of figures

    List of tables

    Introduction: A grey line between inclusion and exclusion

    1. Understanding the politics of inclusion, exclusion and power
    2. Who governs the Dhaka city?
    3. Housing: A contested avenue
    4. Informalization of formal utility access
    5. The right to the services
    6. People’s power and politics: Cooperation, compromise, compliance and conflict

    Towards a conclusion



    Rasheda Rawnak Khan received a PhD in anthropology from American University of USA with the Hall of Nation scholarship. She had been involved in doing a collaborative research on migration with the School of Global studies at University of Sussex. Currently she teaches anthropology at Dhaka University, Bangladesh. Before joining the Dhaka University, she taught anthropology at Jahangirnagar University. She is a regular columnist who writes for national dailies. Her socio-political writings have largely been focused on the concepts of power, politics, urbanization, and governance. Besides her teaching career, she is a media personality. She is one of the directors of the film "Re-storying the Anacostia River," which was selected for some prestigious film festivals in the USA.

    This rich comparative ethnography of two poor neighborhoods in Dhaka offers a new perspective on existing ideas of inclusion and exclusion, as well as of formality and informality. By reexamining these common binaries, the author is able to make an original contribution to the anthropology of urban poverty and citizenship.

    Arjun Appadurai, Emeritus Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University

    Urban policy often claims to include the poor. What does this actually mean? In a work of meticulous ethnography in two Dhaka neighbourhoods - one an informal settlement and the other a resettlement housing project - Rawnak Khan shows in graphic detail the contrasting patterns of community formation and political initiative. A clinical and yet moving document.

    Partha Chatterjee, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York