Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationCalifornia, Irvine, U. of
Grant numberGr. 10024
Approve DateAugust 26, 2020
Project TitleRahman, Tariq (California, Irvine, U. of) "Liquid Land: A Diasporic Market and the Making of Lahore"
In the city of Lahore, Pakistan, plots of land are increasingly traded like stocks. Though land has long functioned as inherited wealth or a long-term investment, in recent years it has become liquid, or a good that can be quickly bought and sold as prices change. Across a diasporic market, plots of land circulate between local residents and overseas Pakistan living in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, and in Lahore’s oldest residential areas the state is digitizing centuries-old land records in order to increase the liquidity of local assets. However, the social and material particularities of land both enable and constrain financialization in novel ways. While financial markets favor abstraction and “rational” economic decision-making, land in Lahore is not only physically embedded but also enmeshed in multiple and overlapping regimes of value. This dissertation project investigates how the social and material qualities of land entangle with processes of financialization in the city of Lahore. In doing so, it aims to understand how financial and non-financial relations come together in postcolonial cities to produce emergent forms of financial speculation, divergent knowledge practices, changing regimes of landownership, and novel modes of subjectivity amongst local residents.