Image Database Export Citations


Livelihoods and Collective Action Among Slum Dwellers in a Mega-City (New Delhi)

Show full item record

Type: Conference Paper
Author: Vedeld, Trond; Siddham, Abhay
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1380
Sector: Social Organization
Urban Commons
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
urban affairs
cities and towns
collective action
governance and politics
Abstract: "This papers deals with livelihoods and collective action among migrant slum dwellers in the rapidly expanding slums of New Delhi; a Mega-city of 14 million people. Close to half the city population lives in unauthorised colonies and more than one third in illegal slum settlements. The slum and slum expansion, a consequence of both national and global forces, has increasingly become a hotbed of urban politics. An historical-institutional perspective is used in combination with household surveys, field observations, and key informants in order to examine relationships between local governance and access to housing, property, and social services among migrant settlers of the Sangam Vihar slum. This is an unauthorised settlement with about 400 000 people located close to the ruins of the 'old city' of Tughlaqabad in South Delhi. In contrast to the public discourse, which characterised the slum dwellers as illiterate, poor, unemployed, and polluting, it was found that almost 85 percent among the sample heads of households had completed primary education (while more than 20 percent had education beyond high school); more than 95 percent were employed with an average income more than twice that of official poverty line; and a majority owned their own house, TV, radio, and bicycle. Most of them were able to accumulate some savings, and had capacity for own development. Slum living was part of a chosen long-term economic strategy that provided access to nearby employment and low-cost housing. Although many poor people were also found, the data illustrate a diversity in livelihoods that had not been recognised in public discourse nor manifested in urban planning and development. The paper illustrates a clear connection between the public discourse, which promoted rather stereotype and stigmatising images of the slum dwellers, and the lack of public support for slum development. Rather, the government has had slum demolition with buldozers as its major strategy, and not in situ rehabilitation, which would be the slum dwellers preferred type of intervention. Reflecting public neglect, local people started to organise themselves, with the help of local civil society organisations, in order to find own solutions to collective resource management problems, albeit often in imperfect manners. The paper concludes by raising certain dilemmas researchers have to face when applying discourse analysis to development and policy analysis."

Files in this item

Files Size Format View
vedldt120402.pdf 242.5Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following document type(s)

Show full item record