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Suburban squatters : new imaginings on Kolkata's Eastern Fringe

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Suburban squatters : new imaginings on Kolkata's Eastern Fringe

Fewster, Jeremy (2009) Suburban squatters : new imaginings on Kolkata's Eastern Fringe. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Despite vast amounts of research on urban poverty in developing nations, scant attention has been paid to the social processes by which newly formed slum communities' move from being mere collections of displaced people, to moral entities that stake claims associated with citizenship. This study seeks to fill that gap by asking: How to slum dwellers living on the outskirts of Kolkata discursively and ideologically construct their community within the context of the development state? Through interviews, observations, participation on local festivals and library research, my research shows how squatters recast traditional notions of kinship obligations, caste duties, and religious identities, in ways that attempted to forge discursive and moral links between themselves and other social groups. Through an imaginative process, where past experiences are cognitively re-worked in order to understand the present and plan for the future, these squatters are in the process of creating new "moral communities" that seek to reorganize urban social relations in a more inclusive direction. Because the idioms through which slum-dwellers couch their discourse and action are traditional, many observers, academic or otherwise, too easily dismiss of their consciousness as backwards, and out of step with modern times. Therefore the present study will move us towards a way of understanding these processes that account for the subtle semantic shifts that displacement gives rise to, the underlying social critiques that these shifts call forth, and the vernacular forms of modernity that are being created in slums, both in India, and around the world.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Fewster, Jeremy
Pagination:vi, 107 leaves : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Legros, D
ID Code:976512
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:27
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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