Rent, Regulation and the Career of an Urban Village
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In the world of finance capital, rent represents a ‘lack of risk’. Rent also represents strong ownership in the world of finance capital which effaces ownerships. This talk would draw from the larger question that the speaker is asking in her forthcoming manuscript titled ‘Properties of Rent’ – What is the role of rent in shaping our global cities? She delves into this through looking at Jat dominated urban villages of Delhi, which have evolved into an unregulated economy of rental properties, residential and commercial, organised and managed by a thick notion of community.
This talk focuses on the relationship of these urban villages with the state, which is largely mediated through the question of regulation. We have witnessed a gradually increasing attention of the state on these villages in the form of ‘regulation’, which is consistently resisted by the community. The speaker argues that regulation is not merely an impetus of a state’s project, but also that of capital. Villagers fear that the coming of the state, through its regulations, would also usher in capital, with its facelessness, which will not only loosen their economic hold, but also their own identity.