Cities of Delhi: Differentiated Citizenship in the Capital City

Patrick Heller, Brown University

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Drawing on fieldwork in a range of communities in Delhi, Professor Patrick Heller documents 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 a regime of exclusion. This regime has both a formal character built into legal and policy prescriptions that differentiate citizenship rights across settlements types and an informal character driven by an array of negotiated political arrangements. Professor Heller further argues that the regime itself reflects a fundamental misalignment of institutional power and political authorization.


Patrick HellerPatrick Heller is the Lyn Crost Professor of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Brown University. He is the director of the development research program at the Watson Institute of International Studies and Public Affairs. His main area of research is the comparative study of social inequality and democratic deepening. He is the author of The Labor of Development: Workers in the Transformation of Capitalism in Kerala, India (Cornell 1999) and co-author of Social Democracy and the Global Periphery (Cambridge 2006), Bootstrapping Democracy: Transforming Local Governance and Civil Society in Brazil (Stanford 2011) and most recently, Deliberation and Development: Rethinking the Role of Voice and Collective Action in Unequal Societies.  He has published articles on urbanization, comparative democracy, social movements, development policy, civil society and state transformation. His most recent project, Cities of Delhi, conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Research, explores the dynamics of governance and social exclusion in India’s capital.