Urbanisation, Citizenship and Conflict in India: Ahmedabad 1900-2000, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Urbanisation, Citizenship and Conflict in India

Ahmedabad 1900-2000, 1st Edition

By Tommaso Bobbio


206 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Urbanisation is rapidly changing the geographic and social landscape of India, and indeed Asia as a whole. Issues of collective violence, urban poverty and discrimination become crucial factors in the redefinition of citizenship not only in legal terms, but also in a cultural and socio-economic dimension. While Indian cities are becoming the centres of a culture of exclusion against vulnerable social groups, a long-term perspective is essential to understand the patterns that shaped the space, politics, economy and culture of contemporary metropolises.

This book takes a critical, longer-term view of India’s economic transition. The idea that urban growth goes hand in hand with the modernisation of the country does not account for the fact that increasingly higher portions of the urban population are comprised of lower-income groups, casual labourers and slum dwellers. Using the case study of Ahmedabad, this book investigates the history of city and of its people over the twentieth century. It analyses the contrasting relationship between urban authorities and the inhabitants of Ahmedabad and examines instances of antagonism and negotiation – amongst people, groups and between the people and the public authority – that have continuously shaped, transformed and redefined life in the city.

This book offers an important tool for understanding the bigger context of the conflicts, the social and cultural issues that accompanied the broader process of urbanisation in contemporary India. It will be of interest to scholars of Urban History, studies of collective violence and South Asian Studies.


"A deeply contextualized account of urban growth in the twentieth century, Urbanization, Citizenship and Conflict in India examines the changing nature of citizenship and identity politics in the "shock city" of Ahmedabad. Tracing the city’s development from industrial expansion to postindustrial transition, Tomasso Bobbio provides an account of contemporary urbanization in which the renegotiation of urban space, citizenship, and identity are closely tied to the spread and normalization of communal violence."

Sya Kedzior, Towson University, USA for H-Citizenship

Table of Contents

Introduction: Metropolis, collective violence, citizenship 1. Migration, prejudices and early industrialisation in the emergence of a modern metropolis 2. Neither rural nor urban: challenges and responses from a growing metropolis (1910s – 1940s) 3. The geography of social change 4. Another face of urban transformation: collective violence and mass movements, 1950s – 1970s 5. How to create a slum 6. How to create a ghetto 7. Decline and Resurgence 8. Urbanisation as a form of ‘routine violence’

About the Author

Tommaso Bobbio is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Turin, Italy. He has conducted extensive research on the city of Ahmedabad. His recent articles include Never-ending Modi: Hindutva and Gujarati neoliberalism as prelude to all-India premiership? (Focaal, 2013) and Migrants, Slums and the Construction on Citizenship in Gandhi's Ahmedabad (1915 – 1930) (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 2014).

About the Series

Royal Asiatic Society Books

The Royal Asiatic Society was founded in 1823 ‘for the investigation of subjects connected with, and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to, Asia’. Informed by these goals, the policy of the Society’s Editorial Board is to make available in appropriate formats the results of original research in the humanities and social sciences having to do with Asia, defined in the broadest geographical and cultural sense and up to the present day.

Editorial Board:
Professor Francis Robinson, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK (Chair); Professor Tim Barrett, SOAS, University of London, UK; Dr Evrim Binbaş, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; Professor Anna Contadini, SOAS, University of London, UK; Professor Michael Feener, National University of Singapore; Dr Gordon Johnson, University of Cambridge, UK; Professor David Morgan, University of Wisconsin–Madison, US; Dr. BMC Brend; Dr. R. Llewellyn Jones MBE

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies