Development Discourse and Popular Articulations in Urban Gujarat
This article discusses how marginalized groups in the Indian state of Gujarat make sense of hegemonic discourses about national development in light of their own experiences and material circumstances. For many, the idea of development resonates even when they do not experience material progress in their lives. This partial hegemony of development discourse can be explained by utilizing the concept of ‘political articulation’. This captures the political process by which parties succeed, at specific historical moments and under certain circumstances, in joining together different, even potentially conflictual interests by referring to a common idea and project. The article focuses on Ahmedabad city where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has created a cross-caste bloc through the trope of development. The Party has been particularly effective in linking the idea of development to people’s mundane concerns of security, identity and spatial order. However, anxieties about the degradation of labour and its conditions such as casualization, informalization, and socio-spatial marginalization disrupts this common sense and has weakened the hegemony of the BJP’s model of development.
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