Research Project

Slums, states and citizens: Policing, welfare services and political participation among the urban poor in New Delhi, Nairobi and Durban

2011 - 2013 (Completed) Project number: 207760/H30

The primary objective is to contribute to an understanding of the constraints and opportunities for effective poverty alleviation among the urban poor.

This project will analyse the provision of three core state functions: security, welfare, and representation.

The project has two key components. First, we will map the nature of slum dwellers' relations with the state. Does the state provide security and welfare services and channels for political representation? Do the urban poor utilise services provided by the state? Do they seek protection from the state against local oppressors? Or do they seek to avoid the state altogether? What is the role of non-state actors relative to the state in urban slums in terms of security, welfare, and representation? Are there differences between men and women in terms of how they view and relate to the state?

Second, we will seek to explain the nature of these relations. Why are relations between the urban poor and the state they way they are? Which factors can best account for the nature of these relations, and the variations in these relations between the three cities?