In Indian cities many people live in marginal areas, with insecure housing, and inadequate provision of most public services, such as water and sanitation, electricity, garbage collection and policing.
The research project will explore how "failures" in service delivery relate to interactions between individuals, their networks and state actors. Slumdwellers develop strategies to improve their lot, developed from learning from daily struggles, within a local social and political system shaped by unequal relations of power and status.
The project will involve surveys of households in a few low income communities in greater Delhi, extensive interviews of the range of other actors involved (community leaders, politicians, fixers, local "big men", managers and frontline workers in state agencies) and archival work. It will initially involve in-depth work in four communities formed largely from past migrations from rural India. This is expected to be complemented by smaller surveys in several other communities in greater Delhi to place the in-depth work in broader context.
The research will provide a deep analysis of the nature and formation of citizenship in marginal areas, and develop practical policy proposals for both state actors and civil society activists.