Neoliberal Spatiality of the Ordinary
Exploring the possibility of a negotiated place in-between the dialectics of accumulation and dispossession
Case of Gurugram (Gurgaon) City, India
The city of Gurugram in India, stands as a frontier to India’s new neoliberal urban spatiality. In just two decades, it had transformed from a mere agricultural suburb to India’s new ‘globurb’. While much of the urban discourse is focused on rendering Gurugram’s neoliberal urban spatiality of the spectacular (including ‘spectacles’ of both ‘accumulation’ and ‘dispossession’), this research extends the understanding of the neoliberal spatiality by examining ‘the social production and social construction’ of Gurugram’s ‘ordinary interstitial spaces’ (Chakravarty and Negi, 2016).
These interstitial spaces consist of spaces that lie alongside or in-between the two spectacular spaces (the privatized city on one hand and the old villages on the other). They are often perceived as ordinary but they are evolving spaces with ‘hybrid’ nature, where both imaginaries – global/local, urban/rural, public/private, visible/invisible, formal/informal, and more are found interweaving and at continuous negotiation. The focus of this research is to code out the grounded attributes that mostly stay invisible and undiscovered in these hybrid interstitial spaces, but which equally contribute towards the social production and social construction of neoliberal spatiality. In order words, the research intends to understand how the interiority of urban and the larger processes of neoliberal urban change are conceived, adopted and reshaped by the everyday, and in doing so, help us conceptualize the space in a different way and bring out variegated forms of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’.
The understanding is based on empirically engaged research, that explores ‘space’ as a stage and as a method for ‘ground-truthing’, the extended analysis of heterogeneous modes and meaning of neoliberal spatiality that are embedded in its lived space.
Keywords: Neoliberal Spatiality, Ordinary Interstitial Spaces, Hybrid Space, Lived Space, Negotiated Place
PhD student working on the project: Anamica Singh