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City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender And The Politics Of Poverty
by Ananya Roy
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
Cloth: 978-0-8166-3932-8 | Paper: 978-0-8166-3933-5
Library of Congress Classification HN690.C2R687 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.0954147

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

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 within the geopolitics of modernity and 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.

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

See other books on: Calcutta (India) | Kolkata (India) | Poor women | Poverty | Women in development
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