Brown University

"Growth and Citizenship in Indian Cities" | Patrick Heller delivering CASI lecture, UPenn

February 11, 2014

Patrick Heller, professor of Sociology and International Studies and director of the Graduate Program in Development, will deliver a guest lecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Advanced Study of India this Friday. Prof. Heller’s research focuses on democratic deepening, and he has published books and research on a number of topics including urban transformations and social movements.

In this lecture, Prof. Heller will talk about the challenge to governance and to legitimate democratic practices of balancing on the one hand the economic imperatives of global competitiveness, and on the other, the social imperative of equalizing opportunity in highly unequal and pluralistic societies. Given the relatively delayed nature of urbanization in India, this “urban question” looms as the critical test of the state’s developmental capacity and the future of democratic development in India. Indian cities have been growing at dramatic rates, but their capacity to sustain growth and promote inclusion is severely limited by a range of political and institutional factors.

Dr. Heller argues that the promise of a growth dividend in Indian cities has been compromised by two distinct failures of governance. The first is a failure to effectively coordinate the growth process. In the absence of effective coordination, growth patterns have resulted in spatial disarticulation and severe infrastructural deficits. Dr. Heller develops this argument through a brief comparison of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The second failure is a failure of citizenship. Drawing on fieldwork in a range of  communities in Delhi, Dr. Heller provides an overview of the highly differentiated nature of basic service provisioning across the city. At a broad level, differentiation reflects socio-economic factors of class, caste and migration. But the actual practices through which differentiation is produced reveals the existence of regime of exclusion. This regime has both a formal character built into legal and policy prescriptions and an informal character driven by an array of negotiated political arrangements.

Friday, Feb. 14th | 12:00pm
Center for the Advanced Study of India
3600 Market Street, Suite 560 (5th floor)
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104