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City Requiem, Calcutta

Gender and the Politics of Poverty

2002
Author:

Ananya Roy

City Requiem, Calcutta

Uses Calcutta as a site for the exploration of persistent structures of deprivation and want.

An ethnography of urban development in Calcutta, Ananya Roy’s book explores the dynamics of class and gender in the persistence of poverty.

Roy crafts a needed and noteworthy contribution to a greater understanding of urban poverty and inequality in India in this excellent study of Calcutta.

Contemporary Sociology

Housing developments emerge amid the paddy fields on the fringes of Calcutta; overflowing trains carry peasant women to informal urban labor markets in a daily commute against hunger; land is settled and claimed in a complex choreography of squatting and evictions: such, Ananya Roy contends, are the distinctive spaces of a communism for the new millennium-where, at a moment of liberalization, the hegemony of poverty is quietly reproduced. An ethnography of urban development in Calcutta, Roy’s book explores the dynamics of class and gender in the persistence of poverty.

City Requiem, Calcutta emphasizes how gender itself is spatialized and how gender relations are negotiated through the everyday practices of territory. Thus Roy shows how urban developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the relations of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias. In doing so, her work expands the field of poverty studies by showing how a politics of poverty is also a poverty of knowledge, a construction and management of social and spatial categories.


City Requiem, Calcutta

Ananya Roy is assistant professor of urban studies in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

City Requiem, Calcutta

Roy crafts a needed and noteworthy contribution to a greater understanding of urban poverty and inequality in India in this excellent study of Calcutta.

Contemporary Sociology

City Requiem, Calcutta

Contents

Preface

1. Opening Moves
2. The Politics of Poverty
3. Domestications
4. Dreaming of Tombstones
5. Disruptions

Postscript(s)
Methodological Appendix: Research Strategies and Data Sources

Notes
Bibliography

Index