Illegible Claims, Legal Titles, and the Worlding of Bangalore
An ethnographic analysis of the politics of urban land titling in Bangalore, India, highlights an ongoing contest to claim territories, with popular practices confronting elites who are mobilizing new legal and institutional regimes, including “e-Governance”, to globalize that city. We mobilize Bourdieu and Wacquant’s “practice force field approach” to highlight two aspects of this politics viz., (i) the material aspects of land and its rooting in a deeply emotional realm and (ii) the dynamics, which are characterized by fluid politics shaped by flexible alliances, moves and countermoves between competing groups. The two case studies presented point to a consideration of a politics of opacity. A representation of this politics is necessarily discontinuous and rejects coherent logical narratives that de-politicize in order to justify neat “policy prescription”.
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