South Asia Seminar - Adam Auerbach: Clients and Communities: The Political Economy of Party Network Organization and Development in India’s Urban Slums

Adam Auerbach
Assistant Professor, School of International Service, American University

Clients and Communities: The Political Economy of Party Network Organization and Development in India’s Urban Slums

India’s urban slums exhibit dramatic variation in their levels of infrastructural development and access to public services. Why are some vulnerable communities able to demand and secure development from the state while others fail? Based on ethnographic fieldwork and original household survey data, Auerbach finds that party networks significantly influence the ability of poor urban communities to organize and demand development. In slums with dense party networks, competition among party workers generates a degree of accountability in local patron-client hierarchies that strengthens organizational capacity and encourages development. Dense party networks also provide settlements with a critical degree of political connectivity. The study contributes to research on distributive politics, the political economy of development, and urban governance in India.

Dates: 
Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 4:30pm
Foster 103