City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty by Ananya Roy

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By Ananya Roy

Housing advancements emerge amid the paddy fields at the fringes of Calcutta; overflowing trains hold peasant girls to casual city hard work markets in a regular go back and forth opposed to starvation; land is settled and claimed in a fancy choreography of squatting and evictions: such, Ananya Roy contends, are the specific areas of a communism for the hot millennium-where, at a second of liberalization, the hegemony of poverty is quietly reproduced. An ethnography of city improvement in Calcutta, Roy's publication explores the dynamics of sophistication and gender within the patience of poverty. urban Requiem, Calcutta emphasizes how gender itself is spatialized, and the way gender family members are negotiated in the geopolitics of modernity and during the standard practices of territory. hence Roy indicates how city developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the family of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias. In doing so, her paintings expands the sphere of poverty experiences by means of displaying how a politics of poverty can be a poverty of information, a building and administration of social and spatial different types. Ananya Roy is assistant professor of city reviews within the division of urban and neighborhood making plans on the collage of California, Berkeley.

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Sample text

This chapter, then, is as concerned with the contested nature of key poverty measures as it is with sociospatial differentiation. Indeed, these contestations are neither new nor unique to West Bengal. In 1985 the Social Science Research Council, in collaboration with the Indian Statistical Institute, held a workshop in Bangalore involving the upper echelon of social scientists working on issues pertaining to India. What was interesting about the event was that it involved both economists and anthropologists and was explicitly oriented toward discussing how and why these two groups had very different understandings of structure and change.

But in order to map this rural-urban interface, I had to transgress the very boundaries that I had drawn. No sooner did I start fieldwork in the three squatter settlements than I realized that they were a part of complex regional processes that could not be captured in a single locality. Instead, each of my fieldwork sites was a node, an intersection of practices and exchanges that stretched across multiple institutional and physical spaces. As Breman (1989, 130) emphasizes, such an approach is very different from 36 • The Politics of Poverty starting with a given spatial framework such as a locality or region.

Land reforms, the development of panchayats and implementation of poverty alleviation programs through them, and political mobilization of the rural poor, are the distinguishing features of development since 1977 which account for this progress. Biplab Dasgupta, “Institutional Reforms and Poverty Alleviation in West Bengal” The Left Front experiment in West Bengal is now widely regarded by knowledgeable observers as a failure . . That the Left Front was a dismal failure should no longer be a matter of debate.

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