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.
"De Wit notes the implications of money politics, or patronage democracy, for the infl uence of the private sector and big business in Mumbai’s governance, as well as how it limits the overall capacity of the poor to mobilise for better services. This leads to one of his most important conclusions, that examples of 'effective, sustainable common action is actually rare' (p 274)."
Tanya Jakimow, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 52, No. 2, 2017
"The book will be eye opening to urban planners interested in slums and urban informality regardless of how familiar they already are with the Indian context.What is clear is that, as this book argues, no policy or intervention is likely to be effective unless it is founded on a deep understanding of the political economy at play between slum communities, local politicians, and the state."
Chandan Deuskar, Journal of the American Planning Association, 2017
"Ultimately, de Wit argues that political interests of both voters and politicians are marked by short-termism, and are not ideologically grounded. He identifies several factors limiting the effectiveness of organized advocacy among slum residents, including sharp divisions between groups, weak leadership, and defensive rather than rights-based action."
Christine Ro, International Institute for Environment and Development, 2017
'…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
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’
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.