‘Surplus Humanity’ and Margins of Legality: Slums, Slumdogs, and Accumulation by Dispossession
Seattle University School of Law - Center for Global Justice
September 16, 2010
Chapman Law Review, Vol. 14, 2010
Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-26
Marooned on the outskirts of the law, more than one billion people live in urban slums and squatter settlements, mostly in the Global South. Law, extra-legality, and illegality commingle in urban slums to produce spaces and subjects at the margins of legal orders and formal economies. Three enduring and inter-related features of capitalism – accumulation by dispossession, a reserve army of labor, and an informal sector of the economy – produce and sustain urban slums. The genesis and persistence of slums and slum-dwellers testify to the iron fist of the state working in concert with the hidden hand of the market in the service of accumulation of capital. Over the last thirty years, neoliberal restructuring of economies and reordering of the responsibilities of states have accentuated this process. As a result, slums in the Global South have grown exponentially. Public policy and pronouncements of the judiciary in India as they related to slums and slum-dwellers call into question traditional understandings of the law, citizenship, and responsibilities of the state. Mainstream remedial prescriptions for housing for the urban poor increasingly rely on market forces, fall woefully short of their goal, and often accentuate the problem. The incipient right to the city provides a productive framework to re-imagine the concept of citizenship, and to guide public policy and popular action to ensure adequate housing with dignity for the urban poor and the marginalized.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 82
Keywords: Accumulation by dispossession, Capitalism, Neoliberalism, Slum, Labor, Primitive Accumulation, Housing, Urban Development, Supreme Court of India, Colonialism, Mumbai, Hernando de Soto, Informal Economy, Dharavi, Civil Society, Right to the City, Political Society, Unemployment, Poverty,Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 18, 2010 ; Last revised: November 2, 2013
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.359 seconds