Accepted paper:

Spatial adhocism - theorising brokerage at state and its margins


Raktim Ray (The Open University )

Paper short abstract:

The research analyses how spatial politics operates through networks of brokerage in Kolkata. It also shows how instead of complete annihilation of people at the margins the state also partially rehabilitates them through adhoc relations.

Paper long abstract:

Understanding of the neoliberal state in the postcolonial world often overlooks the illegibility that the state maintains at its margins. The state deliberately makes its ghostly presence in those sites not only to reinstate hegemony but also to produce new relations and to partially rehabilitate people at the margins for its political survival. This rehabilitation happens through practices of clientelism, negotiations and bargaining where the postcolonial state acts as a facilitator. The research analyses these relations and defines spatial adhocism as reordering of socio-spatial arrangements through these relations. Taking cases of Loomtex jute mill movement and anti-squatter eviction movement in Kolkata, this ethnographic research attempts to develop a typology of spatial adhocism both at the state and its margins. This typology also showcases the infrastructure and resource utilisation strategies that are essential for understanding the politics of brokerage. Here spatial adhocism acts as an apparatus not only to analyse the state's role in brokerage but also portrays how 'networked mobilisation' of power enables people at the margins to exert spatial rights. Finally, the research shows how new subjects and praxis are produced through spatial adhocism for our understanding of the postcolonial state.

panel C6
Brokering development [paper and experimental]