Accepted Paper:

Conducting the City: A Short Essay Film on Housing Brokers and Urban Change in India  
Ian M. Cook (Allegra Lab)

Paper short abstract:

Amidst the intensity of urban change in contemporary India, housing brokers play a key role in 'conducting' the rhythmic patterns of city around them. This short essay film explores patterns of brokerage, worship, drinking and fish in Mangaluru, a smaller city in coastal south India.

Paper long abstract:

Mangaluru, a smaller city in coastal south India, is undergoing wide reaching and transformative urbanisation. The resulting change in everyday city life is characterised by an increased intensity of interactions between diverse, multi-scalar rhythmic patterns. Navigating the rhythmic city is to be a conductor of these different patterns – learning, anticipating, directing, inhabiting and leaving routinised actions where possible. One’s agentic ability to conduct the city around them is based, in part, on the relative position of a person’s caste, religious community, gender and class. This feeds into, and from, attempts to forge regular repeated practices in the city. Finding such regularity within one’s life is a key factor in being able to adapt to, employ and exploit change. This short essay film explores how the working lives of housing brokers in Mangaluru interact with rhythmic patterns of construction, worship, drinking and fish as they help create and sustain property relations in the changing city. It analyses the interactions between their everyday routines, the city’s repeating patterns, and how urbanisation reconfigures rhythmic relations.

Panel P22
Rhythm, sight and sound: work in times of uncertainty
  Session 1