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IUAES 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds. 5-10 August 2013.

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Evolving humanity, emerging worlds

Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013

(PE14)

The urban poor and their struggle for survival: search for an alternative in livelihood (IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology)

Location University Place 3.213
Date and Start Time 06 Aug, 2013 at 09:00

Convenor

Sumita Chaudhuri (Calcutta University) email
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Short Abstract

A large number of urban poor work in the informal sector where entry is easy, requiring less skills, less education and less capital. The urban agriculture will be examined in this context.

Long Abstract

Population of a city grows through birth as well as migration. Not only migration accounts for a significant demographic growth, it also contributes largely to the economy of towns or cities. Slums, squatters and other forms of settlements are being formed at faster rate than the increase in households. Urban poverty, scarcities of housing and services for the poor have been enormous. The economy has not been able to provide employment and income, and the supply of the housing and services have been limited. It is not merely a matter of matching supplies with demands, as a vast majority of the urban poor is unable to pay.

Significantly, a large number of urban poor work in the informal sector where entry is easy, requiring less skills, less education and less capital. Regarding rural migrants, it should be also noted that this urban poor continue to be linked with the rural world through visit, remittances of money and the continuity of social, cultural and economic networks, including recruitments of people from their rural areas.

This Panel invites papers from different countries to promote a comparative understanding of urban poverty, focusing on job and living conditions and their effect of people's health, as well as on rural migrants and their social, cultural and economic integration in the urban environment.

Chair: Prof. Talbot Rogers
Discussant: Prof. Buddhadeb Chaudhuri

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Survival in Uncertainty: A Study of the Hawkers in an Urban Situation

Author: Sovan Chakraborty (Calcutta University)  email
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Short Abstract

In the present day context each and every human being struggles for his survivality. Urban poor is also searching for new economic option for betterment of their life condition. Hawking, vending, rickshaw pulling etc are the main option for their survival in any urban conglomeration.

Long Abstract

Growing unemployment in urban areas has resulted in growth of unorganised sector. The unorganised sector in the urban areas of India has gained attention of the researchers and policy makers in the recent decade. Poverty and lack of productive employment in the rural areas and in the smaller towns force a large numbers of people to the cities in search of better economic opportunity. But it is hard to get proper job in organised sectors as per their wish. Due to lack of skills and lower level of education they remain away from the organised sector. So majority of them work in the unorganised sector and it has become the only means for their survival. But they remain poor as they were in their native place. This profession is people centered, risky and often creates social distance with the near ones. Present paper focuses on the migration, socio-economic condition and health status of the hawkers in three different areas of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. These people depend on their labour mostly to earn their livelihood and often face menace to survive. They depend on the jobs which require less skill, lower education and off course minimum investment. Hawkers are provided with license for doing their jobs by the Union, but they face innumerable problems too. The factors associated with these professions are age, sex, hour invested etc.

Economically distressed Migrant population to Kolkata in search of livelihood for survival .

Author: Manabendra Nath Mandal (University of Calcutta)  email
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Short Abstract

Urban population produce very little for their consumption but the migrant people are trying to produce and engage in various work and looking for opportunities to survive

Long Abstract

Poverty stricken people from the neighbouring districts are migrating to Kolkata in search of livelihood and settlement . Urban population produce very little for their consumption but the migrant people are trying to produce and engage in various work and looking for opportunities to survive . There is hardly any planning for developing facilities for these migrants though there is a demand for urban poor to be engaged as daily labour , domestics etc . They develop their own slums and ' Jhupri ' under plastic cover . Many of these migrated urban poor sends money to their families and join the festivities cultural , religious etc and keep in touch with village life before finally settling in urban town. Urban complexities , lack of health , sanitation and water facilities make them continue to suffer .

Child worker and their struggle for survival: another feature of urban poverty

Authors: Raka Bhattacharjee Roy (University of North Bengal)  email
Somenath Bhattacharjee (Assam University)  email
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Short Abstract

Poverty has become one of the major social problem in the Indian society. Along with the rapid influx of urbanization, urban poverty is also increasing rapidly. In this context, the children of the concerned families become a worst victim. From their early childhood, they get involved into the mainstream of earning for their families. Ultimately it creates an adverse impact upon their entire socialization process.

Long Abstract

Irrespective of multifarious developmental perspective, poverty is still prevailing to a larger extent throughout the entire world and in India it is also quite prevalent. It has emerged as a major social problem, and it generates some other critical social circumstances. Inequal distribution of resources is one of the root cause related with the exploitation and deprivation of a large section of people who are poor and downtrodden. In these societies, poverty, hunger and scarcity become an inseparable aspect ever since the childhood of an individual. Ultimately, their entire socialization process is intimately related with the culture of poverty. For the sake of survival, irrespective of tender childhood emotions, their hands play a crucial role to earn a fold of rice for their family members. Such a situation has been observed in case of an unorganized occupational sector which is discussed in the present study.

Keywords: Urban poor, Child worker, Poverty, Hunger.

The Urban Poor and the Struggle for Survival: The Case of Detroit

Author: Joe Darden (Michigan State University)  email
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Short Abstract

None provided.

Long Abstract

Detroit, a large Midwestern industrial city is home to one of the poorest populations in the United States. Many manufacturing jobs in the auto industry that had, since World War II, constituted economic opportunities for Detroit's residents, were in decline by the 1980s. This decline was related primarily to economic restructuring. This process involved a decline in manufacturing employment (which pays high wages) and an increase in service employment (which pays lower wages). The change has had social and economic consequences both for employment opportunities for low skilled workers and for their ability to earn an income to support a household above the poverty level.

This paper uses U.S. Census data on Population and Housing and a Composite Index of Socioeconomic Status to assess the characteristics of neighborhoods most severely impacted by economic restructuring and the struggle of these population groups in Detroit to survive.

Rural migrants in a city: new mode of life and old kinship relations.

Author: Viacheslav Rudnev (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology)  email
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Short Abstract

Rural migrants in cities are under the double pressure of innovation and traditions. This fact actively works toward the growing of urban poor among migrants. In this paper I intend to discuss the possibility of a cross-cultural focus of the problem.

Long Abstract

Rural migration involves migrants in active participation in the economic life and problems of the urban areas. Rural migrants arrive in the urban area as a labour resource, and they have their own special views on life and traditions in their Mode of Lifestyle. Actually, and primarily, they had no possibility of solving their economic problems in the rural area; and particularly in the local mode of life. Rural migrants have hope that successful changes in their life style can be made, and that they will have economic success; but, quite often, they are not willing to change any traditions of their life; like, for example, their role in a system of traditional kinship relations.

Rural migrants in cities are under the double pressure of innovation and traditions: they need to adopt to a new mode of life in a city and, at the same time, assist their kinsfolk on accordance with norms of traditional modes of life in the rural area.

Programs and projects which trend toward solving economic and humanitarian problems in the area (both among city-dwellers and countrymen) can objectively assist in providing reforms that accord with norms and concepts adaptive toward Sustainable development for society.

The urban poor in Mexico City: work precariousness and mutual organization in the struggle for survival.

Author: Angela Giglia (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana)  email
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Short Abstract

Based of several years of fieldwork, the paper examines different forms of solidarity and resistance taking place among poor and precarious workers in Mexico City.

Long Abstract

Starting from a discussion of some classic thesis about the poor in Mexico City, such as Oscar Lewis and Larissa Lomnitz, the paper will present different forms of solidarity and resistance among poor and unwarranted workers in contemporary Mexico City. The central idea is to show how labor precariousness in global economy, even if it includes high amounts of competition and individualism, is not irreconcilable with old and new forms of social ties, which may generate specific practices of solidarity but may also contribute to maintain labor precariousness as a way of life, the more and more conceived as normal. These topics will be examined starting from different case studies that I have observed in the last 15 years of fieldwork in Mexico City.

Poverty Alleviation and the Art of Government: A Case of the Urban Poor Community in Metro Manila, Philippines

Author: Koki Seki (Hiroshima University)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper deals with social policies for urban poverty alleviation in the Philippines, and discusses the art of governing slum community. It particularly aims to discuss the characteristic of power, subjectivity, and community mobilized in the process of implementing such policies.

Long Abstract

The policies in this study can be analyzed in a broader context under the "enablement" approach and activation of community, which have been mainstream concepts in dealing with poverty alleviation since the democratization and decentralization of the government of the Philippines in the 1990s. Specifically, the study focuses on three cases; namely, the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) as a land reform program for the urban squatters; the Conditional Cash Transfer as an income assistance program; and the cash for work project. Each case clearly indicates how the programs work to govern poverty through social inclusion of the slum residents, and such inclusion has been made possible through the activation and mobilization of various actors such as residential associations, community, local politicians, and NGOs. The social inclusion observed in the case, however, is inevitably accompanied by the production of "un-governed people" at the margin or outside of the space of inclusion. As suggested in the data in this study, these "un-governed people" not only includes those who are simply excluded from, or who resist against, a regime of inclusion, but also those who desire to be governed differently, or who appropriate a regime of government and practice instead a self-government from below. The paper examines various modes of negotiation between inclusion and non-inclusion, or the "governed"and "un-governed", by focusing on the microscopic interaction among the stakeholders of the programs. Through such discussion, it will identify the significance of the emerging anthropology of social policy and government of urban poverty.

The Temple Beggars at Kalighat: The Struggle for Survival

Authors: Saonli Roy (University of North Bengal)  email
Pinak Tarafdar (University of North Bengal)  email
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Short Abstract

The study of beggars or the study of urban poor gives the opportunity to understand the new adaptive norms of this people, which they adapted with the issue of survival in a situation of marginal existence.

Long Abstract

India has the largest number of poor living in urban areas compared to any other country in the world. High population, density of poor shelter, lack of an adequate supply of water and its poor quality, inadequate or non existence of sanitation facilities, poor drainage and solid waste disposal characterize the living environment of the urban poor. The study of beggars gives an opportunity to gain an understanding the special adaptive norms of a human group dealing with the problem of survival in a condition of marginal existence, often it is said that in India poverty is the chief but not the only cause of beggar hood. Poverty is a situation that gives rise to a feeling of a discrepancy between what it has and what one should have. This article will sincerely attempt to reveal how urban poverty creates cultural constraint in the process of urbanization.

Migration is one of the factors of urban poverty. It contributes large growth of towns and cities. The relation of rural to urban migration is one of the oldest human traditions. Rural migration have been pushed rather than pulled into the urban areas in India. In the present study most of the beggars of kalighat temple kolkata were migrates from different parts of West Bengal or other state like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Predesh etc. They faced different problem while staying in an urban place. So the article will decipher simultaneously the situation of the baggers and its inevitable effect on the urban centre.

The Disparity of Water Access in Delhi, India

Author: Heather OLeary (Washington University in St Louis)  email
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Short Abstract

Domestic workers in Delhi cross thresholds between both water scarcity and abundance. By exploring the flows of water—its physical paths as well as its value and meanings—their testimony provides new insight on urban development, disparity, and conservation.

Long Abstract

This research explores the disparity of water access in Delhi, India through the perspective of urban domestic workers. These workers, with little remuneration for their work, often live in informal "slum" communities adjacent those of their employers. Like many of the marginalized slum residents who struggle to meet minimum safety standards for drinking water, domestic workers must also make difficult decisions about using water for the most basic household chores. Yet, many of these workers have been exposed to and trained in the aesthetics of modernization, and experience tension over meeting high standards of cleanliness, purity and order with limited resources. Moreover, their active participation as agents of purification in upper-middle class homes distance them from traditional, informal and peer networks of water sourcing and water knowledge—as a result they are excluded from both formal and informal networks of water access. By elucidating the dynamics of water exchange amongst these marginalized residents, theories from economic anthropology, environmental anthropology and anthropology of development can be employed to not only shed light on the water disparity in urban India, but also to help understand modernization processes beyond the context of India. This project examines how structures of development, class privilege and resource management are changing the flows of water in Delhi, and what these local forms of water access can tell us about the growing global socio-political problems of urban water scarcity.

(Research funded by Wenner-Gren, Fulbright and The University of Minnesota)

The slum: a study on Kolkata metropolis

Author: Samik Roy (West Bengal State University)  email
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Short Abstract

A large number of urban poor work in the informal sector where entry is easy, requiring less skills, less education and less capital. The urban agriculture will be examined in this context.

Long Abstract

Slums in underdeveloped or developing countries are by and large characterized by environmental deficiencies and sub human conditions of life.

> However nature of slums and social background of its inhabitants depend largely upon economic development and technological advancement of the concerned country. An increase in slums is characterized by an increase in migration from rural to urban areas. Since there is a substantial increase in India's urban population since Independence, most of slums in towns and cities imply migration from rural areas particular of those who live in slums. The towns and cities which have attracted more people from rural areas are those, which have provided jobs and employment to rural people. Industrial towns, district head quarters, capital towns of states and metropolitan centers in particular have witnessed rapid growth of slums.

As a consequence, Industrial Revolution, laid the roots for slums and more particularly after World War-II the growth of slum gained its momentum as material development concomitant with massive urbanization, slums have rapidly grown in underdeveloped, developing and even developed countries. In fact, slums are a feature of any urban landscape.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Sponsors

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