The Political Economy of Climate Change and Vulnerability in a Neoliberal City: A Case of Bengaluru's Informal Settlements
Posted: 21 May 2018
Date Written: May 8, 2018
Understanding vulnerability in a city requires due recognition of the political economy that governs the multiple intersections between people and their living environment. This paper uses the case of informal settlements in Bengaluru, India, to examine vulnerability through a political economy lens in order to capture the larger social, political, economic and structural factors that shape vulnerability to climate change. It discusses how the structural nature of vulnerability, in the form of pre-existing socio-economic marginalisation, reinforces itself in the city. Despite the perception of cities as emancipatory spaces, our findings reveal how caste and migration status remain important factors contributing to differential vulnerability among the informal settlement dwellers in Bengaluru. Marginalised castes as well as new migrants in the city lack the necessary political and bargaining power to tap into networks that can ensure supply of basic services. This focus on understanding vulnerability from a political economy perspective is inadequately prioritised in climate change literature.
Keywords: informal settlements, climate change, political economy, vulnerability, Bengaluru
JEL Classification: R11, Q56, J19, J01, P48
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