Dr Sanjeev Routray

The plumbers of Delhi: Migration, plebeian sociality and citizenship in an occupational community

Funding period: 1 May 2016 – 30 April 2019
Type of funding: Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Sanjeev’s main areas of research include critical urban studies, sociology of development and social/political theory. His work attempts to understand the historical trajectory of the lived realities of poor migrants in Delhi, particularly since the 1990s. He explores the city’s changing topography vis-à-vis land use patterns, investment options, housing for the poor, and various complex mechanisms that shape Delhi’s social and economic geography. He seeks to understand how the increasing economic disenfranchisement of the poor in rural areas has triggered migration into Delhi and how the transformations in urban Delhi as a result of industrial closures and eviction have a direct bearing on the attendant politics of patronage networks, the state and legal mechanisms. In doing so, he attempts to clarify how negotiation mechanisms involving a multitude of agencies affect the strategic practices employed by the poor migrants in coping with institutional power structures.