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Workshop on “Subaltern Urbanisation” by Partha Mukhopadhyay

As part of the Urban Workshop Series, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), Delhi conducted the following Workshop on “Subaltern Urbanisation ” given by Partha MukhopadhyayWorkshop, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research.

Date: Tuesday, 25 September 2012; Centre for Policy Research

Abstract: India’s urbanisation is following at least two concomitant paths; first, a traditional metro-centric agglomeration process driven partly by the movement of people and second a process involving, inter alia, the transformation of places, which are dispersed across the country, a process that can be usefully compared with in-situ urbanization in China. Subaltern urbanisation refers to the growth of such settlements that are independent of the metropolis and autonomous in their interactions with other settlements, local and global. Analyzing conventional and new data sources “against the grain”, it is claimed that there are many such economically vital smaller settlements in India, contrary to perceptions that India’s urbanisation is slow, that its smaller settlements are stagnant and its cities are not productive. Instead of basing policy on illusions of control, it is necessary to try and understand how agents construct this world, if we are to comprehend the ongoing Indian transformation. This work is part of a larger eponymous project, entitled “SUBURBIN” and entails joint work with many other researchers

Partha Mukhopadhyay is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. His current research interests are in urban development, the development paths of India and China and infrastructure. He has previously been with the Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC), the Export-Import Bank of India, and with the World Bank, in Washington. Partha Mukhopadhyay has a Ph.D. in Economics from New York University and an M.A. and M.Phil from the Delhi School of Economics.


This is the thirty second in a series of Urban Workshops by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on issues relating to the development of the city and try to address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society, and politics. For information, please contact: Marie-Hélène Zerah at marie-helene.zerah@ird.fr or Partha Mukhopadhyay at partha@cprindia.org