Urban Poverty, Local Governance and Everyday Politics in Mumbai (Hardback) book cover

Urban Poverty, Local Governance and Everyday Politics in Mumbai

By Joop de Wit

© 2017 – Routledge India

320 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138207493
pub: 2016-10-04
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pub: 2016-10-04
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This book explores the informal (political) patronage relations between the urban poor and service delivery organisations in Mumbai, India. It examines the conditions of people in the slums and traces the extent to which they are subject to social and political exclusion. Delving into the roles of the slum-based mediators and municipal councillors, it brings out the problems in the functioning of democracy at the ground level, as election candidates target vote banks with freebies and private-sector funding to manage their campaigns. Starting from social justice concerns, this book combines theory and insights from disciplines as diverse as political science, anthropology and policy studies. It provides a comprehensive, multi-level overview of the various actors within local municipal governance and democracy as also consequences for citizenship, urban poverty, gender relations, public services, and neoliberal politics.

Lucid and rich in ethnographic data, this book will be useful to scholars, researchers and students of social anthropology, urban studies, urban sociology, political science, public policy and governance, as well as practitioners and policymakers.


'…the book is rich in ethnographic data including in areas difficult to collect data on (such as the details of ward-level corruption), and so this book will be useful to scholars, researchers and students of social anthropology, urban studies, urban sociology, political science, public policy and governance, as well as urban practitioners and policymakers. It is recommended reading for scholars with an interest in mega cities development and in Mumbai in particular.'

Emiel A. Wegelin, Rotterdam

Table of Contents


List of abbreviations


1 Locating Mumbai’s poor in urban governance, politics and informality

2 Mumbai megacity: city, people and governance changes

3 Included and excluded: Mumbai’s poor and slum dynamics

4 Political entrepreneurs: the Mumbai corporators in their political and financial context

5 Politics or poli-tricks? Local democracy and slumvoting in the 2012 Mumbai municipal elections

Conclusions: ‘the poor pray for miracles, the rich think they have a right to them’




About the Author

Joop de Wit is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Development Management, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS), The Hague, The Netherlands. An anthropologist, his research interests are political science, governance, policy issues, urban poverty and decentralization. He has published the books Poverty, Policy and Politics in Madras Slums: Dynamics of Survival, Gender and Leadership (1996) and New Forms of Urban Governance in India: Shifts, Models, Networks and Contestations (co-edited with I.S.A. Baud, 2008) as well as numerous articles.

About the Series

Cities and the Urban Imperative

This series introduces a holistic approach to studying cities, the urban experience, and its imaginations. It assesses what is distinctive of the urban phenomenon in India, as also delineates the characteristic uniqueness of particular cities as they embrace change and create ways of experiencing modernities.

Taking an interdisciplinary route, the series evaluates the many facets of urbanisation and city formation, and explores the challenges faced in relation to regional, national and global processes.

The books in this series present the changing trends in macro and micro urban processes; the nature of demographic patterns of migration and natural growth therein; spatial reorganisation and segregation in urban areas; uneven economic development of manufacturing and services in cities; unequal access to power in the context of formal citizenship; increasing everyday violence and declining organised protest; breakdown of urban family life in juxtaposition with the reconstitution of community. They will trace how new forms of socialities are replacing old forms of trust and solidarity, and how these are being institutionalised in distinct and diverse ways within South Asia.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban