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Accepted Paper:

'Cut the cutout culture!' Shifting urban landscape and the politics of spectacle in Chennai  
Roos Gerritsen

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I will explore the frictions between unanticipated uses of the city and a discourse of beautification and rationalization of urban space in the southern Indian city Chennai. Chennai is well-known for the barrage of billboards, posters, and wall paintings exhibited by mostly political supporters and fan clubs displaying their respective leaders and heroes. Now, Chennai's city administration is intervening in this spectacle of display by initiating a campaign to regulate this visual "pollution" of unanticipated forms of display within the city. What is striking however is that the politicians that now try to curb these unregulated and "disorderly" formations of the city pre-eminently initiated this visual regime of representation and therefore actually represent this part of the city par excellence. In this paper, I will explore this paradox, which unfolds in debates on the urban fabric of the city.

Panel W053
Shaping urban inequalities: space and power in the city
  Session 1