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Stockholm seminar on Making the City Beautiful: Bourgeois Environmentalism and Urban Order in Delhi, India
April 19, 2021 - 11:10
On Monday, 11 June 2012, 13.00 – 15.00 Assoc. Prof. Amita Baviskar from Delhi University will give a lecture on ”Making the City Beautiful: Bourgeois Environmentalism and Urban Order in Delhi, India”.
Abstract: As an embodied public sphere, city streets are sites for multiple exchanges between differently located people and things, shaped by multiple understandings about how they should be managed. This talk focuses on cows, cars and cycle-rickshaws as they navigate Delhi’s roads, and on the people who own, use and seek to control them. All three have been the subject of strenuous efforts at regulation by courts and citizens’ groups. I interpret these conflicts as instances of bourgeois environmentalism: the middle-class pursuit of urban order, hygiene and safety, and ecological conservation. I argue that collective action in the ‘public interest’ by ‘citizens’ concerned about congestion and the collapse of civic infrastructure constitutes a selective public, one that excludes the city’s poorer sections. However, the pursuit of urban order is undermined by the very actors who seek to enforce it–the state and bourgeois citizens–whose contradictory practices ultimately enable ‘the republic of the street’ to survive.
Everyone is invited!
The seminar is hosted by the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, as well as by Stockholm University Environmental Social Science Seminar. Read more.