1st Edition

The Politics of Community-making in New Urban India Illiberal Spaces, Illiberal Cities

By Ritanjan Das, Nilotpal Kumar Copyright 2023
    276 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the relationship between the production of new urban spaces and illiberal community-making in contemporary India. It is based on an ethnographic study in Noida, a city at the eastern fringe of the state of Uttar Pradesh, bordering national capital Delhi.

    The book demonstrates a flexible planning approach being central to the entrepreneurial turn in India’s post-liberalisation urbanisation, whereby a small-scale industrial township is transformed into a real-estate driven modern city. Its real point of departure, however, is in the argument that this turn can enable a form of illiberal community-making in new cities that are quite different from older metropolises. Exclusivist forms of solidarity and symbolic boundary construction - stemming from the differences across communities as well as their internal heterogeneities - form the crux of this process, which is examined in three distinct but often interspersed socio-spatial forms: planned middle-class residential quarters, ‘urban villages’ and migrant squatter colonies.

    The book combines radical geographical conceptualisations of social production of space and neoliberal urbanism with sociological and anthropological approaches to urban community-making. It will be of interest to researchers in development studies, sociology, urban studies, as well as readers interested in society and politics of contemporary India/South Asia.

    Prologue; Chapter One: Urban Space, Community-making and Illiberal Politics: A Theoretical Framework; Chapter Two: Producing a New Urban Space: City-making in Noida; Chapter Three: Fractured Secessions: Urban Communities in Noida; Chapter Four: Recreating a Nativist Rural: Community-making in Urban Villages; Chapter Five: The ‘Tainted Others’: Community-making in Noida Jhuggis; Chapter Six: Conclusion


    Ritanjan Das is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth, UK. He is the author of Neoliberalism and the Transforming Left in India: A Contradictory Manifesto (2018), also published by Routledge.

    Nilotpal Kumar is an Associate Professor at the School of Development, Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India. He is the author of Unravelling Farmer suicides in India: Egoism and Masculinity in Peasant Life (2017).