Sangeeta Banerji

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Rutgers U.

Grant number

Gr. 9517

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Banerji, Sangeeta, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Fixing (in) Mumbai: An Ethnography of Brokerage within the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai,' supervised by Dr. Asher Ghertner

My project investigates ‘fixers’ who have been for years, instrumental in ‘fixing’ the city of Mumbai by mobilizing varying politics at different positions with one of the largest bureaucratic state apparatuses – the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Rejecting normative black and white accounts of state action in India, I claim that it is the ‘fixers’ operating in the space of the local state, who are key makers of the Indian city. This ethnographic project is motivated by the two broad questions of: How is it that these key ‘fixers’ mold the space of the state to settle and unsettle the city of Mumbai by appealing to varying ethico political regimes at different junctures? And how is the changing space of the state in Mumbai in which these fixers reside, influences the ways in which the city of Mumbai is produced? To conduct a multiscalar and multisited ethnography of informal brokerage in Mumbai, I will follow the translation of the spatial plan called the ‘development plan’ as it moves through the levels of bureaucracy and interacts with these key ‘fixers’ that I have identified during my preliminary research. The three key fixers are the ‘tracer’ at the centralized head office, the ‘Municipal Liaison Architect’ at the zonal office and the ‘mukadam’ at the lowest level the local ward office. Each of these key fixers though located at very different junctures in the local state, serve at gatekeepers to different processes but are inherently linked in the way that each are instrumental in producing the city in one way or the other. The tracer through his tracings, the Municipal Liaison Architect fixes the city by navigating the multiple ethical regimes that different bureaucrats operate in and the mukadam alters the materiality of the plan itself by influencing the purported outcome of the plan.