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New Article on Documentation and Citizenship in Delhi

Assistant Professor Sanjeev Routray of the Institute of Asian Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (IAS @ UBD) has recently published an article entitled “Paper Struggles: Documents, Inscriptions, and Citizenship Negotiations in Delhi.”

Published in the journal, City: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action, the article examines how certain documents, such as ration cards and voter IDs, play a role in establishing and validating claims of urban citizenship in Delhi

Here is the full abstract:

The paper analyses how documents, particularly ration cards and voter IDs, mediate and constitute urban citizenship claims, especially on the part of the poor to gain access to welfare services in Delhi.

It examines how citizenship is claimed, negotiated, performed, and realized through various documentary, inscriptive, and enumeration counter-tactics. Enumeration counter-tactics include letter-writing, office visits, self-surveys, the solicitation of information through the Right to Information policy, and the production of counterfeit documents.

In this respect, I argue that the bureaucratic calculations marked by arbitrariness and indeterminacy remain a predominant mode of urban governance and dispossession. Yet these calculations also precipitate counter-tactics by the poor, drawing our attention to the heterogeneous character of the state.

The counter-tactics provide an understanding into the ways in which communities implicate themselves with the state by forging relationships, establishing and inventing kinship ties, and subverting social hierarchies in unanticipated ways.

Routray, Sanjeev. 2023. Paper struggles: documents, inscriptions, and citizenship negotiations in Delhi. City: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action.