International Development Planning Review

Everyday violence and bottom-up peace building initiatives by the urban poor in Mumbai

International Development Planning Review (2020), 42, (1), 57–71.

Abstract

While there has been some research that points to the ‘everyday’ violence in informal settlements that house some of the most marginalised communities in cities of the global South, as much attention has not been paid to the simultaneous presence of peace and inclusion-directed activities. This paper is an attempt to understand peace-making in a context of entrenched violence through the story of inhabitants of Mandala, an informal settlement in Mumbai. I argue that the urban poor are not passive victims of violence but that they express their agency in living with violence. Living with violence also involves several invisible moves to build footholds in the city, being resilient to the everyday violence and engaging in a politics of hope. Such invisible actions gain more traction and take the form of greater assertion for inclusion and peace building if accompanied by self-empowerment and a sense of movement in their lives. Critically, peace building is integrally linked to greater assertions towards claim-making in the city; peace without such assertions makes little difference to the everyday experience of violence faced by communities.

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References

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Appadurai, A. (2000) ‘Spectral housing and urban cleansing: notes on millennial Mumbai’, Public Culture, 12(3), 627–51. Google Scholar

Bayat, A. (2010) Life as politics: how ordinary people change the Middle East, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press. Google Scholar

Bhide, A. (2009) ‘Shifting terrains of communities and community organization: reflections on organising for housing rights in Mumbai’, Community Development Journal, 44(3), 367–81. Google Scholar

Bhide, A. (2013) The city produced: urban development, violence and spatial justice in Mumbai, Report of research on people, places and infrastructure: countering urban violence and promoting justice in Mumbai, Durban and Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Google Scholar

Burte, H. and Kamath, L. (2017) ‘The violence of worlding: producing space in neoliberal Mumbai, Durban and Rio de Janeiro’, Economic and Political Weekly, 52(7), 66–74. Google Scholar

Chatterjee, P. (2004) Politics of the governed: reflections on popular politics in most of the world, New York, Columbia University Press. Google Scholar

D’Monte, D. (2002) Ripping the fabric: the decline of Mumbai and its mills, New Delhi, Oxford University Press. Google Scholar

Das, V. and Randeria, S. (2015) ‘Politics of the urban poor: aesthetics, ethics, volatility and precarity’, Current Anthropology, 56(11), 3–14. Google Scholar

Datta, A. (2016) ‘The intimate city: violence, gender and ordinary life in Delhi slums’, Urban Geography, 37(3), 323–42. Google Scholar

Doshi, S. (2011) ‘The right to the slum? Redevelopment, rule and the politics of difference in Mumbai’ (unpublished PhD thesis), Berkeley, University of California. Google Scholar

Galtung, J. (1969) ‘Violence, peace and peace research’, Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–91. Google Scholar

Gregory, D. and Pred, A. (eds) (2006) Violent geographies: fear, terror, and political violence, New York, Routledge. Google Scholar

Gupte, J. (2016) ‘Development studies: past, present and future’, IDS Bulletin, 47(2), 77–88. Google Scholar

Mahadevia, D. and Narayanan, H. (2008) ‘Shanghaing Mumbai: politics of evictions and resistance in slum settlements’, in D. Mahadevia (ed.) Inside the transforming Asia: processes, policies and public actions, New Delhi, Concept Publications, 549–89. Google Scholar

Maharaj, B. and Narsiah, S. (2002) ‘From apartheid apologism to post-apartheid neoliberalism: paradigm shifts in South African urban geography’, South African Geographical Journal, 84(1), 88–97. Google Scholar

McIlwaine, C. (1999) ‘Geography and development: violence and crime as development issues’, Progress in Human Geography, 23(3), 453–63. Google Scholar

Mustafa, D., Anwar, N. and Sawas, A. (2019) ‘Gender, global terror and everyday violence’, Political Geography, 69, 54–64. Google Scholar

Nijman, J. (2011) ‘Mumbai as a global city: a theoretical essay’, in B. Derudder, M. Hoyler, P. Taylor and F. Witlox (eds) International handbook on globalization and the world city, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publication, 447–54. Google Scholar

Novais, P. (2016) ‘Private ventures, state violence and community responses: research report from Rio de Janeiro Team’ (paper presented at the conference on Rethinking violence and justice in global South), January 2016, Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Google Scholar

Pain, R. (2015) ‘Intimate war’, Political Geography, 44, 64–73. Google Scholar

Roy, A. (2011) ‘Postcolonial urbanism: speed, hysteria, mass dreams’, in A. Roy and A. Ong (eds) Worlding cities: Asian experiments and the art of being global, Chichester, Wiley, 307–35. Google Scholar

Sassen, S. (1991) The global city: New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton, Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

Standing, G. (2011) The precariat: the new dangerous class, London, Bloomsbury Academic. Google Scholar

TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) (2006) ‘Rapid enquiry of fire and related violence in Mandala, Mankhurd’ (unpublished report), Mumbai, TISS. Google Scholar

Wright, S. (2008) ‘Practising hope: learning from social movement strategies in Philippines’, in R. Pain and S. Smith (eds) Fear: critical geopolitics and everyday life, Aldershot, Ashgate, 223–34. Google Scholar

Zournazi, M. and Hage, G. (2002) ‘On the side of life: joy and the capacity of being: a conversation with Ghassan Hage’, in M. Zournazi (ed.) Hope: new philosophies for change, New York, Routledge, 150–71. Google Scholar

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Author details

Bhide, Amita