Does Police Repression Increase Cooperation between Migrants? A Study of Informal Urban Marketplaces in India
44 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 13, 2015
Heightened police repression is an important feature of urban life for poor migrants in the developing world. Yet little is known about how police repression shapes patterns of cooperation and conflict within these proliferating urban communities. I address this question by combining 5 months of ethnographic fieldwork with an original large-scale survey experiment conducted among poor migrants (N=2400) in urban India. Far from fracturing poor migrant communities, I find repression increases rates of political and economic cooperation within them. These solidarity effects stem from both empathy and self-interest, and are rooted in shared experiences of repression. Strikingly, they can even extend across inter-migrant economic and ethnic rivalries. My findings reveal repression to be a novel and neglected pathway of migrant identity formation in the developing world. More broadly, this study extends research on how repression shapes mass protest to consider how it impacts everyday relations between frequently repressed citizens.
Keywords: Comparative Political Behavior, Urban Politics, Ethnic Politics, Migration, Democratization, South Asia
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation