Illusion of Permanence: Interview with Arjun Appadurai by Perspecta 34 Author(s): Arjun Appadurai Source: Perspecta, Vol. 34 (2003), pp.

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(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996); ArjunAppadurai, "Deep Democracy: Urban Governmentality and the Horizon of Politics,"

PublicCulture14,1 (2002),41-47; Arjun PublicCulture12, 3 Mumbai," Appadurai, "SpectralHousingand UrbanCleansing:Notes on Millennial "Grassroots Globalization the ResearchImagination," and PublicCulture12, 1 (2000),1-19; Arjun (2000),627-51; Arjun Appadurai, Appadurai,
"Dead Certainty: Ethnic Violence in the Era of Globalization," Public Culture 10, 2 (1998), 225-47.

P34 From the social location in which you speak, anthropology, how do you understand the questions we raise in this journal? How do you think about architecture or building? is Arjun Appadurai Anthropology notoriously capricious,even promiscuous in its interests, but Ithinkit'sfairto say that there is a and revivedinterest-apart fromissues of transnationality flows and globalization-in the city. Urbananthropologyhad become for a whilea somewhat small and specialized field,and althoughI have to correctfor my own bias and interestand sense of my own drift,Ithinkthat's changing, that there is a more general resuscitationof interestin things urban.Thereare a numberof reasons forthat, not the least being the sense that in the city a varietyof important trans-sectionaland transnational things are being played out. Therehas also been a standing interest,which continues to be very active, in the problematicsof space. referencepoint. Here, someone likede Certeau remainsan important As for architecture specifically,my interestin it is not a productof

generaltheorizingor broad conceptual interests,but comes froma sense that it'scatching a lot of vitaldebates and energies. The most salientfact is that in my recent work in India,and particularly Bombay,I have been in withthe energy,fervor,and engagement that surround deeply impressed architectural circles both in terms of practitioners in terms of and teachers, students, and institutions. Thereis a reflectiongoing on among architectsin India-which may well be partof something more widespread-about what we call a "crisis of the discipline": what does it do, what ought it to be doing, etc. That has always interestedme. WhileI recognize that there general problem are debates going on in Europe,the UnitedStates, and elsewhere in the world,I sense that in places likeIndiathe disciplinary crisis, which may be and many otherfields, including is ongoing in architecture anthropology, in a special and deep dialoguewiththe crises in social lifeand the developmentof things likeurbanplanningand housing. This is not an crisis but a crisis that is in a fruitful inward-looking dialogue witha variety of other social crises and contradictions.Architecture an especially is


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in Hart we and Keith says inMoney an Unequal World, colleague friend few that areinthefirst yearsof a revolution couldbe as longorlonger in revolution. thanthe agricultural decadesof Peoplewho lived the first havebeenexpectedto spinoutall the agricultural revolution couldhardly its implications the nextseveral for centuries evenmillennia. that and In but that and sense, we arestill groping scrambling, Ithink doesn'tmake itimpossible sense that,say,the ITrevolution launching intoa to is us different of technical technological kind and order. therearea number So of substantive of do waysto engagewiththe question newness-I mainly thatby looking relations at betweenelementsrather focusing than on like or singleelements, migration mass media. P34 Indevelopinga framework Perspecta34 focusing on for Another one can makea convincing aboutnewness way argument we at of architecture, were interestedinthe ecology of mobile is by looking the logicof the dispersal elementslikemass media, temporary built formsand processes that influencethe contemporary that market and technology havea planetary ideology, electronic in distribution is striking its reach,initscoverage, that with landscape-tourism, displacementsand migrations, housing compared and either If earlier or markets,protests,and disasters natural man-made.Youseem largerevolutions, ideological technological.youexamine to claimthatthese processes, when understoodin "relations of it thisdispersal, produces relations betweenvarious orders unexpected are significantin shapingthe globalizing world.How of things. disjuncture," new are these relationsof disjuncture Inallof thisis a dialogue Marxist with ideasaboutthe relations particularly or contemporary? Inthis regard,whatis the differencebetweenthe modernand the and socialrelations, life, amongmaterial technology, ideology, so on. Theseideas,directing to lookat the pointsof articulation us between contemporary? of assets forlooking at layers socialexistence,havebeenourstrongest of new AA Howthe ideaof "relations disjuncture" definessomething or in of and inspiring, Ifyoulookat these relations a kind general, still way. of is elements the kinds things the relations employment arenowpart the result global of of that of of contemporary a tricky question. Clearly, Irefer by usingthe tropeof "disjuncture" be seen inearlier times to can involve movements people,skilled of they corporate strategies, clearly therearetwoorthreethingsthatmight andsemiskilled, economic andinothercontexts,butIthink into nichesat veryshortnotice.This the One whichis that define newnessquestion. is a relational answer, confounds crudeideathata particular any economyseen ina completely we and formsof mass while havehadthingslikemigration various bounded can havea simplerelationship betweenbase spatially way their elements superstructure of mediation a verylongtime,andeach has a kind deep history, for and for becauseeach of elements, example, I at these layers be seen as a part global can of relationship-as argueinmybookModernity Large-seems special systems.So circulatory now different thanintimespast.When addmorespecific in indeedtherearevertical relations thisMarxist andMarx by was you strikingly view, the to elements that,forexample IT[information revolution, no meanswrong, the layers but seem nowto be inescapably technology] partsof or whichaffectsdirectly indirectly ownright, alsoat a globallevel. and many, manyotherthingsinitsfieldof circulatory systemsintheir to a the of force,it'sverydifficult see itas having smoothorcontinuous that Marxist history. Therefore, kinds causalities underlie thinking in as Ifyoufurther throw the specialforceof the ideology the market a of aboutthe relations and production, among,forexample, technology, since 1989,youcannoteasilysee the global notonlyhaveto be reconsidered haveto be reconsidered but in ideology regulative ideology in of In an ad hoc manner on the situation. other hegemony thatideology earlier periods. words,one depending this answerandsaythat,yes, the All is to extendthe relational with cannotcometo a givensituation a strongprior sense abouthowthe relations are but elements lookat allhavetheir we That me is whatthe word"disjuncture" causalflowswork. for I deep histories their captures. and are to to of different, some of them,likethe ITrevolution, plainly use "relations"refer the strength the Marxist to strikingly approach, saythat of is new.Thechallenge thatwe cannotdevelopa strong that these thingsarenotsimply theory their randomly happening, therearestructured As has newnessprecisely becausethe owlof Minerva notyetflown. my betweenthem.However, formsof dispersal these the interactions of and because bothinplaceslikeIndia morebroadly, site interesting today, inwhich areinterested. we of the kindsof globalizing questions



and to forces-ideological, technological, social-make itdifficult havea a sense of howtheyrelate one another. to general priori Iwouldsay a further wordaboutthe "new contemporary" or by on modern the contemporary." wayI and The goingto the question "the wouldmakethe distinction betweenthe modern the contemporary, and whichis a verygeneric is whereas way,is to say thatmodernity a project the contemporary a condition. is Different theorists wouldhavedifferent to ideasof whatis critical thiscondition-someone Anthony like Giddens wouldsee itdifferently someonelikeFredric from Jameson,forexample. Thecontemporary a condition is characterized amongotherthings, by, the sortsof linkage, andflowthatIwrite aboutinmyown propinquity, work.Itis the inescapable in condition whichlotsof actorsandsocieties findthemselves. the otherhand,themodern, thisis partly On and in at is reflected mytitleModernity Large, nota fact,an epoch,ora stage buta vision, conception, a project. a or is Therefore, modernity nowa witha particular of characteristics, globalization a set as project given And it condition. becauseitis a project, has multiple contemporary idea The were shapesandincarnations. early thatthese projects and is necessarily somehowinherently things convergent one of the main IargueagainstinModernity Large elsewhere. at and

whatwe usedto callhabit-involve of attention, largeamounts deliberate and Part and is in effort, labor. of thatattention, effort, labor involved collective ideasof whatis possible.Therefore, the localto havesome for embodiment takesan effort which transcends very that spatialized So the ideais notto, as itwere,de-spatialize local,or the spatiality. evacuate spatial the from local,butto addsomething it.Thatis to the to to therehas to be an effort, a say,formerespatiality takeitsform, of whichis muchmorecomplex. Oncethateffort to "production locality," the we also,amongother observed, will produce localis fully things,get a deepersense of whatitmeansto produce, and inhabit, sustain spatial relations. won'thavesubstituted We else forthe spatial of part something the localbutwill haveenriched logicof the spatial the local. in the P34 Forarchitectsthis emphasison boththe material substance and the imaginedsocial life makesfor a challengenot onlywhen readingthe city but also when engaging in its design. Whatroledo physicalplaces-areas of a city,spaces in a neighborhood-playin the production locality?Howdoes the temporary of qualityof these physicalplaces affectthis production?

AA Physical in but placesareveryimportant two inverse related ways.I amthinking myowninformed of sense of spatial and practice spatial On particularly. the one hand,to go backto Bourdieu, logicinBombay insofar physical as in, spaces arewhata personfindshimself either to part brought them,borninthem,orexposedto them,theyform of the the of which workof the production locality done. is P34 Youoften talkaboutthe ways in whichthe imagination, backdrop against of that work draw role spaces arepart the material individuals from, Physical experience,plays an important in alongside empirical and on, to some extenttakeforgranted, inotherinstances highlight, constructingspatialrealitiesfor people, for example,in cities. How use. of is yourconcept of the production localitya move awayfroma consciously Onthe otherhand,physical sharpen, spaces arealso of to sense of the local? objectsof the interests lotsof socialactors.A lotof workis directed spatialized the production, or of maintenance, distribution, enjoyment reproduction, sense-areas, spaces, of and AAThelink betweenthe production locality the ideaof the physical places.Physical placesinthisbroad with of as to (an further) roads,streets,locations-havea dualrelationship the production trying develop imagination a socialpractice ideaIam still of and formpartof the condition its production, theyalso ideaIwant an idea is actually expanded of the social.Inthatexpanded locality. They form important of the objectof thatproduction. of the an One notonlyto makeroomforthe socialas defined reproductive part by logicsis and the in Bourdieu has andregularities,the waythatPierre relationship introduce playof challenges to takethatdialectical rules,regulations, to morethansimply for aboutthem-but to makeroominthe socialforprojects, contingencies see thatthereis something spoken in mechanical involved thisprocess. in social for production visions, wishes,andso on. Andthese defined collective Letme movebriefly the temporary to of and quality these physical individual, idiosyncratic ways. ways,notjustinpersonal, close to the coreof the interests Perspecta The of 34. that of is Theproduction locality a reminder eventhe most places,getting as that without immediate to say is thatinsofar spatial mechanical formsof socialorder seem to function thing arrangements-homes, apparently of habitations, streets,roads,construction anytype-are temporary, but or they by design,contingency, intentionality simply the forceof routine-



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produce anxiety.Inplaces likeBombay (andthe question, of course, is how many places are likeBombay,and to what extent, and that is an open matterin my mind)-that is, very dense places with unequalaccess to spatial resources, volatilepolitics,and a growingcrisis of governance and civility short, a descriptionof many mega-cities in the poorer (in countriesof the worldand of some mega-cities in the wealthiercountries in the world,too)-the temporarynatureof a lot of physicalplaces and spaces shoots the projectof producinglocalitythroughwith a constant in under-textof anxiety.This anxietyis frequently articulated collective forms, such as ethnic violence, about which I have written,and has large for implications the way politicsis conducted in these cities, whether it's throughethnic violence or otherforms. The question of temporarinesshas a particular edge forvictimsof homeless, the under-housed,the badly physicaldispossession-the housed-with whom Iam particularly concerned in Bombay.Forthem manythings in lifehave a temporaryquality-not only physicalresources, spatialresources, and housing but also social, political,and moral relationsand relationsto the sources of power.The productionof locality in is an effortto produce the sense of continuity the face of the of things. A huge amount of theirsocial energy and temporariness is personal creativity devoted to producing,if not the illusion,then the sense of permanence in the face of the temporary. The phenomenology of the temporarymust be carefully distinguishedby group locationin the politicaleconomy of places likeBombay.The temporarinessof things if you are a high-levelspeculator in the derivativesmarketof Bombay is than ifyou are livingin a viaduct in Bombay. verydeeply different P34 Would you elaborate on the phrase "illusion of permanence" in the context of the social life of Bombay or cities like Bombay? AA Yes, well, you know, Iwas using the phrase "illusion permanence" of because I'vealways loved it. It'sthe titleof a wonderfulbook by Francis Hutchinsabout the Britishin Indiaat the peak of theirpower. It'sa lovely phrase because it captures a kindof desire of the imperial system, but the simultaneously anguish and the ambivalenceinvolvedin these things: the arrogantconceit of certaingrand projects,likethe imperial project, but also the humblethingthat ordinary people seek constantlyto create. As far as the bottom halfof the populationin Bombay is concerned, in then the sense of manyways lifeis an effortto produce, if not the illusion, or or stability, continuity, something likepermanence in the face of the of knowntemporarinessor volatility almost allthe arrangementsof social life-who is where, who can you love, what's available,where do you live,

who has a space, willsomeone allotyou a house, willyou get temporary housing, etc. Inthis regard,the projectof the productionof localityis an effortto workagainst the constant corrosionof the present, both by change and All by uncertainty. communitiesknow that the workof producingtheir own humanity tied up in being able to relyon what may subsist from is today to tomorrow,fromthis generationto the next, and so on. Inthat of sense, "theillusion permanence"summarizesa very largeamount of what people do in a quotidianway, for example, pumpingup a kerosene stove on the pavement to produce your meal at nine o'clock with whateverit is you have been able to buy, scrounge, borrow,beg, or get. That is the productionof the illusion permanence, that you willhave of dinnertonight,as you willtomorrownight,and so on-if you are lucky.Its more ambitiousend is the question of havinga reliablestructure-a roof over yourhead, a place on a piece of pavement, etc. But in a society in which both the site and the means of livelihood have a high degree of for volatility many people, the workof producingstabilityis very hardto distinguishfromthe struggleto get some sense that what you do and what you have mightlast untiltomorrow.

P34 In Modernity at Large you introduce "diasporic public spheres" as a prevalent product of the cultural dimensions of globalization. If the city is made up of these diasporas, but also of ostensibly stable social forms and institutions, how are we to understand the relationship between the moving and the "stable"? AA Ina generalway, I have referred the distinctionbetween modernity to as a project and the contemporaryas a condition.Allgroups in cities like Bombay have movement of some kindas a projectin theirlives, and movement of some kindas a conditionin theirlives. But forthe poor in Bombay,movement is more often a conditionthan a project.That is to say, they are more often its objects than its subjects. By saying this, I am that the question of movement and stability deeply is indicating of responsiveto the question of where you are in the distribution things in this kindof place. Thatsaid, to the extent that we look at cities as made up of these diasporas, the question is not so much an across-the-board between diasporicand more stable forms and institutions. relationship


social groups, everybodyin these places is to some Rather,for particular extent tied up with networksof variouskindsthat extend well beyond the city.And for everyone, to some extent, they are nevertheless able to, or forced to, or wish to produce some kindof locallylegiblestability. thing is how Everybodyis engaged in this tension. The reallyinteresting in cities like one group's diaspora is anothergroup'sstability; groups Bombay formpartof the socio-spatial backdropagainst which other groups formtheirprojects.So even ifyou have a group that is highly diasporic,insofaras it sediments itselfin certainlocations and takes up certainpractices and occupations dealingwithgoods and trades in Bombay,it becomes partof the stable backdropfor some other group's visionand some other group'seffortto move. We need a very sensitive pictureof the social morphologyof places likeBombayto attack the question of the relationbetween the movingand the stable because it is not an across-the-board, general law underwhich allgroups exist. P34 You have argued that ethnic violence is one kind of response to uncertainty and a way in which community is produced. In "Spectral Housing and Urban Cleansing" the material substance of the city-its spaces, infrastructure, and legalities-was the site where this was played out. What does that say about the relationship among the body, physical space, and the idea of community? AA I have given a talkthat is in the process of makingits way intoa formal,writtenformon my experience of Bombay in which I use the and phrase "dirt democracy."Inthat essay I make an analysisof the growinganxietyamong the middleclasses in Bombay,as well as their about practices of defecation, urination, allies in the municipality, spitting, etc. These are very serious issues in Bombay,and as you watch the on discourse of cleanliness being articulated billboards,in newspapers, in slogans, and so on allover the city,you begin to see that there is a series of things beginningto be melded together.The firstone is that the poor themselves are seen as some formof social dirt.This harksback to the and Danger, a classic workarguingthat work of MaryDouglas in Purity dirtis matterout of place. InBombay the poor are certainlymatterout of place, but they are also producingmatterout of place-that is, urineand feces-in publicplaces. Itis a city dominatedby homelessness, in which a large percentage of people have no access to sanitation.Itis very common for seven or eight hundredhouseholds to share one, two, or three toilets-an impossible physicalreality. Imagine,in a situationlike this, also havingto face an intense publicdiscourse against the sullying

of the city by urineand by fecal matter,and you can understandhow there is a tendency to see bodilywaste and the bodies of the poor as somehow connected. Inthe case of Bombay and Indiawe have an alarming tendency to see the crowded areas in which eitherslums or homeless people exist as in partof the geography of undesirableminorities, this case Muslims,and of people who produce political violence, these days often talked about in the idiomof terror. Some time ago, there was a majorattack on the Red Fortin Delhiby people who were alleged terrorists supported by or fromPakistan.The newspaper coverage talkedvividly how of directly these terrorists were able to make theirway to the Red Fortby occupying the largelyMuslimslums that surroundit, going "like rats"throughthese small, crowded, filthyplaces to performacts of violence. The discourse of this event, and of other events since, is a disturbing convergence of class of bodilyeffluvia, the horror the state and the upper-middle of numberone, of the poor, numbertwo, and of dangerous political numberthree. This is the darkside of the linkamong the body, minorities, physicalspace, and the idea of community. have always been sensitiveto the particularly, Anthropologists, positivedimensions of the ways in which many humancommunitieshave social solidarity, cosmoand constructed theirideas of moralsolidarity, by logicalregularity playingon signs, symbols, indexes, and icons map of coherence. In deployed off the body as a foundational variously the examples I have just given, we see the dystopianversion. Inthose places of the world,mega-cities among them, where physicalcohabitation become enormouslystrained,the potentialof the body has for and to be a trope for community, solidarity, trust, integrity, integration, takes just the reverseform:bodies become a site forthe locationof fear, contamination, filth,and danger. images of pollution,

P34 You mention "redundancy" as a concept that describes the competing and overlapping forms of governance taking the place of the nation-state. How is this an emerging concept for the organization of social life in cities, but also in relation to transnational definitions of locality? the what Iwas tryingto pointto is AA Informulating idea of redundancy, societies in which we feel there is no ruleof law, or that in particular





it of wherethereis a kind chaos,on closerinspection oftenturnsoutthat of thereis a multiplicityclaimsinvolving and sovereignty, legitimacy, In It of power. is a matter too much,nottoo little. the largecitiesthatare as now emerging as newformsof the city-state, manypeoplehave to recentphrase, is this suggested,orcity-regions, use another of of over true. is especially There a multiplicityclaimsinthe idiom power: relations. have You resources, particular particular spaces, particular socialforces,socialmovements, movements, popular nongovernmental state movements, governments, movements, city municipal all federal very power governments, governments, exercising complex etc. claimsovergroupsandbodies,locations, resources, Ina way,you battle between coulddefinemega-cities engagedina complex as You claims legitimate to governance. couldevensay thatthis competing of battle virtuallydefinition whatthese city-states is a are. is As faras the transnational definition locality concerned, of manyof these players movements, (social municipal governments, regional are linked either to trans-federal governments) infinitely governments, not which their or corporations, counterparts otherinterests, leastglobal transnational aretransnational movements, forces,transnational players, of the of andso on. Themultiplicityredundancy, too-muchness claims is intimately connected thetransnational to overlegitimate power, in are networks whichmanyof these agenciesandmovements and theyarea part. implicated of which P34 How is a new "ecology of expertise"being shaped by forms likethe Alliance,what you call a emergent organizational "deep democracy"?

to Movements like AAThisis a verycentral question myownresearch. in are theAlliance, whichIhavestudied Mumbai, doingwhatsimilar havedoneforsome time,whichis changethe relationship movements to betweenthose inpowerandthose outsideof it,inparticular makea to of claim, sympathetic thethought peoplelike powerful knowledge a This PauloFreire. Alliance together nongovernmental brings for of calledSPARC (Society the Protection AreaResource organization calledMahila formed a women's Milan, Centers), grassroots organization in and former workers one of thetoughestpartsof Bombay, a sex by calledNSDF Slum national Federation). (National Dwellers organization ownexperiences about P34 Youhave said that the urbanpoor in Mumbai "citizens and Thepoorknowa greatdealabouttheir are Thosewhoclaim be concerned to the conditions their of experiences. withouta city."Whatis the politics of becoming visible for the in and aboutpoverty improved equity citiesandsocietiesas a whole If poor in Mumbai? it is not merelylivingin the geographyof the of Thosemobilized needto makeroomforthe expertise the poor. city,what is it that makes one a citizen in a city?

in populations amongthe poorwhohavebecomeexplicitly politicized termsof urban socialgovernance nowmaking a central of and are it part their ownideological practical and to strategies say thattheyarelooking notforknowledge foran evenplaying on which exercise but field to the have.Thistakesmany the forms, mostgeneral knowledge already they in movements aboutallformsof beingthe cynicism manypro-poor technical that to that expertise arebrought them,on the grounds itis, far from ownlife,second,usually first, removed their unilaterally imposed, to for in to and,third, worthless, example, relation proven be technically like matters waterorhousing. veryconcrete Basedon this,a newlogicis beingputintoplace.Thesepro-poor the are movements, including ones Ihavestudied, seekingto become in activepartners defining, example, for whatitmeansto be a skilled than we builder. Rather saying,"Don't us anything, knoweverything," tell which wouldbe a verysimpleminded the would reversal, answeris:"We in liketo becomeplayers the question howyoubuild of adequate for We housing the poorina citylikeBombay. haveideasaboutfinance, aboutsewage,aboutdrainage." first At aboutdesign,aboutstructure, of but a position, itis actually glance,thislookslikea kind vaguepopulist becauseitcallsintoquestion entire the subversive architecture position, the of knowledge which post-World IIdevelopment on War is machine founded. on on on Depending the context,depending the project, depending the issueinquestion, these contestations restructuring itmeans are what to havespecialized To there knowledge. takeon one deep implication, is a virtually divorce the ideaof effective of andthe complete knowledge of ideaof research movements. single That amongmany these pro-poor whichexpertise matter under is completely changesthe conditions If in am but have defined. yousay "I interested reliable knowledge, Ireally in no interest we whatsoever whatyoucallresearch," havethe of of today.Itis notjusta matter beginnings the kind debateinprogress It of a contestoverpowerandknowledge. is a debateaboutthe deep that the of protocols surround production knowledge.



AA Housing,perhaps more than any other single dimensionof lifein a to AA Actually, reversethe terms of the question, what the poor in many of cases are seeking is the privilege being invisible.They sufferfroma place likeBombay,bringstogether issues of what others have called It of visibility, I have triedto suggest in some of my otherwork. as recognitionand redistribution. is the place where questions of dignity, surplus with being homeless, in questions of equity,and questions of securitycome together. Housing One of the troubleswith being poor, and certainly It allows you to pick the conditionsof yourown visibility. doesn't make Bombay is that you are on permanentview. A very large partof the it it of of you invisible, doesn't make you over-visible, gives you a say in whom productionof locality, the work of the imagination, the laborand for visionof social reproduction the disenfranchised,forthe homeless, you are visibleto, in who is visibleto you, and underwhat conditions.The addressed effortto combat the tyrannyof the temporaryis substantially the poor, in places likeBombay is how to cope with being permanently in a place likeBombay throughhousing. and inescapablyon view. A lot of physicalarrangements,includingmany tied Whatit means to be wealthyis intimately up withwhat it means of the arrangementsthat we would call temporary(pieces of cloth to have "securetenure."We used to thinkof tenure as being landtenure, between rooms, strung-upplastic pieces over your head), have to do urbanissue issue. Itis now a profoundly with insulation, fromthe wear and tear of natural forces, fromnoise, from and largelyas an agrarian which the urbanpoor are seeking to make theirspatialexistence but very often fromthe gaze of other classes, especiallythe through pollution, middleclasses, and of the state. Ina way, what the poor often seek in legallyrecognized. Housingis also the place where key forces tend to crisscross on places likeBombay is the privilegesof invisibility. and to anotherdimensionin which, likeredistribution recognition,it catches Fromthis point of view, citizenshipis the ability exercise effective to a maximumtension: in relation technicaland cultural matters. Housing ways, behindthe frontstage, by having power in the city in invisible is a place where infrastructure meets the livingroutinesof social life. Itis access to people and relationsto resources that do not have to be unlikesewage, drinking and many other absolutely advertised. Ina funnyway, transparencyis the baneful,unchosen water,electricity, It forms of infrastructure. is the place where such infrastructure conditionof the poor.Althoughit'sconsidered a virtuein the high-minded critical of and meets issues of dignity, style, of social standing, of allthe things that discourse of many governments, philanthropies, multilaterals, so on, in fact it is a conditionwithouta choice; it is a prisonforthe poor.They make humans humans. No single other arrangementstages the complex The and visiblenegotiationgoing on between technicaland cultural livein transparency.Inshort, this is the fishbowlkindof transparency. features in social life.Givenits nature,housing can always vanish, even for people power of people who are trulycitizens in a place likeBombay is the who are economicallyverywell off. Forpeople who aren't,it often doesn't but power to-not necessarilycorruptly simplyinvisibly-have social exist in the firstplace. effects in relation theirown social projects. to Itis this tension, where these two axes meet, in which housing between visibility and The poor have the least optimalrelationship too dwells. One is the recognitionand redistribution axis, and the other is the power:too much visibility, littlepower.Whatthey seek is to reduce theirvisibility-not inthe political sense of the termas a metaphorfor axis, as faras urbanmorphologyand design and materiality between go, dimensions of social life. voice, but directvisibility-interms of the gaze, in the interestsof affecting the technicaland the cultural what has been called the nervoussystem of power in a city likeBombay. A bad mixof visibility effectivepower defines the citizenshipof the P34 How have the poor's needs to define their own space through and more power. what you refer to as a "politics of patience" and "deep poor,and what they seek is to change that mix:less visibility, democracy" rubbed up against the more abstract designs of planners, developers, and state authorities in Bombay?

P34 In "Deep Democracy" you state, "Housing can be argued to be the single most critical site of this city's politics of citizenship." What are the different causalities and relationships at work that make housing such a nexus of issues (ethnic violence, power inequalities, real-estate speculation, class proximity) in Bombay?

AND THE POLITICS AA A majorissue inthe politicsof housing in Bombay is the question of HOUSING for relocationand rehabilitation homeless populationsthat have been OF PATIENCE tracks. These populationshave been at the livingalong the railroad
center of the politicsof the state versus the poor and also face the rage of middle-class commuters whose trainshave been slowed down by shacks close to the tracks. Familieslive,in some cases, in temporary shacks two, three, fourfeet fromwhere commutertrainsrun.Regularly or people are injured killed,and as a resultthese slum populationshave


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been slowing the trainsdown, sometimes stoning trains,causing dwellerswere being damage, etc. This is a hot issue. These railway-track forciblyremovedwithtractorsbroughtin by the city governmentand the to railways demolish homes. One of the majortriumphsof the Allianceis its success in breaking the logjamsthat arose in negotiationsamong the Indianrailways, Indian government,the governmentof the city of Bombay,variousmunicipal authorities,and the WorldBank (whichhas a majortransportation project in Bombay).The Alliancemanaged to make its way intothis incredibly to complex local, national,global politicsby showing that it has the ability these slum dwellersto move to temporaryquarters,in some persuade cases builtby the Alliancemembers, in other cases by the state. The Allianceinterveneson behalfof the urbanpoor, saying, "Wewillget these move ifyou providereliablehousing, in a reliable people to voluntarily manner,throughour good offices-and we willpromisethat those homes parts of the city,willnot be abused, sold, put you provide,in particular back on the market,etc. We willguaranteethat we know who these we'll place them in a reliable way inthe people are familyby family; spaces allottedto them."They have peacefullypersuaded the slum because dwellersto demolishtheirown houses-which is revolutionary demolitionis usuallywhat's done to them-on the promiseof relocation. This is possibly one of the great crises and dramas of urban housing in Bombay.It'san example of where the governance involving people who dwelled on these tracks were dealingwithone of the cruel forms of temporariness,where trainsare whizzingby two feet fromyour child.They have shown patience in waitingfor a better three-year-old and indeed that has been deliveredby the Alliance,throughits solution, withother very complex forms of politicalnegotiationand deliberation agencies. The Allianceitselfhas shown its own forms of patience in the face of assets throughpatience in dealing emergency. Ithas builtup its political other players. with city politics,developers, the WorldBank, and multiple Ithas deployed allof that capital,which is itselfbuilton the politics of patience in the face of emergency,to persuade these slum dwellerson the tracks to demolishtheirown homes, to bid good-bye to secure forms of temporaryhousing in exchange for uncertainforms of permanent housing. These slum dwellershad to be convinced that what is at the other end won't be taken away fromthem. That'sat least an example of the play,the deep play,and the multiplelevels of play,between different forms of senses of emergency, and different temporalities,different patience in the politicsof housing. The "rubbing of these two kindsof visions would be much more up" much more sterile,much more violent, brutal,much more unproductive, and much more zero-sum were it not forthe negotiationby groups like

the Allianceof the different urgencies and emergencies of the state and to other agencies in relation the urgencies and emergencies of the poor. The Alliancehas managed to findpoints of mutualproductivity, therefore preventingthe kindof brutalfrictionsthat often happen when these kinds of visions bump up against each other.

P34 The apprehension in believing in architecture's and urbanism's capacity to effect social change could perhaps benefit from a thorough understanding of how people imagine and understand their urban landscapes-how they negotiate the terms and conditions of the city's various economies. Could you comment on the difficult translation between how people imagine and produce these urban landscapes and how researchers and architects "read"these processes? AA One of the things that poorerpeople do to negotiate the complex realitiesof the tensions between the temporaryand the permanent,and so on, is constantlyseek to be informedabout the social forces at play in is theirenvironment. Everybody doing this, but poorerpeople are doing this especially,seeking to amass as much knowledge as possible about who is who, what is what, who's relatedto whom, and why. Forexample, a newspaper boy who is droppinga newspaper at your place willsee you talkingto somebody else, and he willeitherask somebody else or, if he can, ask you who that person was, or what she was doing, or why she and was there. At firstsight, it seems (a)irrelevant, impertinent rude, (b) but what is happeningis a constant archiving.Ina general way, what the poor seek to do in cities likeBombay is to constantlyrenovatethis archiveof knowledge, of people, of relations,of resources. Thatin itselfis a laboriousprocess, but it is done allthe time. Youdo not know what will become relevantat a particular point,when something temporary becomes even less than that, or threatensto disappear,or something for without becomes permanent: example,you are totally unattractive The of housing,and it looks likeyou willbe that way forever. relation actors of this type, and theirvisionsof who they are, what they are doing, and how and they survive,to researchersand architectsis veryimportant, Ithinkit is at the heartof manyof the crises we are allconcerned with. when we talked about expertise One point I began to articulate earlieris that as the urbanpoor become more politicizedin places like the Bombay,they are redefining terms of the relationsbetween key elements that we take to be associated, likeresearch,theory,testing, and hypothesis, intervention, so on. We on the academic side tend to have a naturalized protocolbetween the relationsof these things. The


poor are now in a positionto begin to systematicallydisaggregate those things and to say, "Todo A, why do we need B?" That is one site of debate, but the other is something even more central. Itis the subject of anotherpaper that I have just writtenin the context of a collective exercise undertakenby the WorldBank in regard to relationsbetween anthropologistsand economists, between culture to and development in relation poverty,called "TheCapacityto Aspire." The essential point here is that in the kindof dialogue of the deaf between anthropologistsand economists, or people on the cultureside and people on the economic side, anthropologistshave essentially handed over the entirebusiness of the futureto economics. Cultureitself seen as a kindof is substantially, however sophisticated a definition, by rearviewmirror, habit,tradition, norm,etc., but always lookingback. The question of the future-of people's wishes, choices, projects,visions, etc.,-has been more or less handed over to the domain of economics, of individuals' choices and preferences, and so on. Whatwe in in anthropologyneed to do, and Iwillcome to architecture a second, is firstof allto recognize that there is a whole way in which the futureitselfis formed as much as the past is. People in communitiesalways culturally have visions, expectations, plans, wants, and these are not just We things;these are also formed collectively. in disaggregated, individual anthropologyby and large,withtinyexceptions here and there, have totallyfailedto catch this, and we end up thereforein this standoffwith don't understandhow people operate,"and economists, saying, "You That "You too individualistic." is allfine, but what have we done about are it? Verylittle. Within that generalframeworkI have triedto argue that one of the that has now become capacities (inthe language of capacity building standardin respect to the poor)is what I call "thecapacity to aspire."The effortis to recognize that poor people have visions for where they would liketo go, for hope itself,but aspirationsneed to be seen as more complex than simplyisolated desires or wishes. This capacity, Iargue, is not simplya generalizedgood but something that is unequally distributed."Poverty" could be defined as havinga bad place in the distribution the capacity to aspire. Iargue that this capacity is of improvedthe more chance you have to exercise it. Inthat argumentthe at recommendationis that we need to look carefully how the capacityto and why the terms of recognitionare always skewed aspire is distributed povertyargumentsaying that the poor against the poor. It'snot a cultural don't have visions or hopes, but ratherthat this capacity develops only throughuse. Those who use it more, obviously,develop it more. And if you do not have the occasion to use it a lot, it is going to suffer. This bringsme to the business of architecture and urbanplanning and these kinds of disciplines,in that they rarely take intoaccount this

take into account that the homeless, or faculty.They rarely aspirational the poorlyhoused, or the under-housed,or the disenfranchisedhave projects,have visions, have strong ideas about where they would liketo liveand how. Moreimportant, they have a particular place in this to economy havingto do withthe capacity to aspire. Inrelation housing and issues of builtformand space, practices that architectsand urban plannersare involvedin, they should not just add this understandingin but place this concern at the center of theirwork.So when you say "the translation between how people imagineand produce these difficult urbanlandscapes and how researchersand architects 'read'these processes," Iwould say that by and large researcherstend to precisely read the forms, but I don't thinkthey adequatelyread the reader. To put it simply,architectsand plannersoften do not recognize that the people whose concerns they are seeking to address have very complicated aspirational maps, in which spatialissues play a part.The issue is not to cut straightthroughto get the quickest road fromthe the designer's head or mandate or professionalcontext to delivering house, the road,the shopping mall,the trainstation, but to figureout where those elements actuallymightfitmore fruitfully strengthening into what Icall "thecapacity to aspire." Whetherit is architecture, urbanplanning,or a softer discipline or likeanthropology, which is simplytryingto make an interpretive and contribution, engaging that capacity,its distribution, the forms it takes-that is the centralchallenge. Inshort, we need to be newlyalertto the danger that in pursuingthe aspirationsof urbanplanningor the fantasies of architects,we mightneglect the centralasset we need to recognize:the capacityto aspire of the urbanpoor.Such aspirations includethe ways in which the poor mightwish to shape their centrally about the techniques and spaces. Thisfact should compel a new humility technologies of the expert.


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