Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationPennsylvania, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9821
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleJonnalagadda, Indivar (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Securing Land, Legitimacy, and Life: Informal Land Rights and Markets in Hyderabad, India"
Looking at the “Challenge of Slums” (UN-Habitat 2003) from the bottom up, I ask, how do groups of poor and marginalized citizens secure claims on land in economic contexts where land is being relentlessly converted into financial resources? I attend to the work—the practices and discourses—that makes occupation of land by marginalized groups politically possible, economically viable and materially livable in the long-term. My ethnographic and archival project situated in Hyderabad, India, focuses firstly, on processes of “land regularization” carried out by successive governments whereby title-deeds are generated for occupied lands; secondly, I explore the vast “informal land markets” in slums which facilitate transfers of lands in spite of the absence of clearly defined property rights; and thirdly, I examine the strategic modes of organization of slum communities, particularly the “Slum Welfare Association”, to think of slums as organized neighborhoods. My project studies slums as dynamic sites for negotiating the boundary between state and society and the right to the city. By focusing on property relations beyond the law, and exchanges of property beyond formal real estate markets, I show that the work of occupying land and securing claims on it renders the category of legality itself flexible.