The objects of development: negotiating the materiality of everyday life in a low income Delhi neighbourhood
Cressida Jervis Read
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
How are material objects implicated in the production and operation of development and social policy categories such as 'poverty'? How are they tactically reworked by those defined in relation to them? This paper examines 'ration cards', allotment slips and houses in a 'slum' neighbourhood in Delhi.
Paper long abstract:
In social and development policy poverty is defined in 'absolute' and 'relative' terms as the relative or absolute 'lack' of material possessions and income. These material possessions and income serve as indicators enabling the identification, classification and enumeration of individuals as 'poor', a category visible to policy makers and planners. Yet simultaneously, development and social policy creates its own objects through which social and political relations are transformed and defined. Drawing on the experiences of residents of a 'resettlement colony' (a 'slum' clearance neighbourhood) in East Delhi, this paper examines the assemblage of social and political relations tied up in key development objects as they are tactically reworked by the people defined in relation to them? This paper examines 'ration cards', allotment slips and houses in a 'slum' clearance neighbourhood in Delhi.
Materiality and poverty