Development Discourse and Popular Articulations in Urban Gujarat

Author: Manali Desai and Indrajit Roy


This article discusses how members of marginalized groups in the Indian state of Gujarat make sense of hegemonic discourses about national development in light of their own experiences and material circumstances. For many, the idea of development resonates even when they do not experience material progress in their lives. This partial hegemony of development discourse can be explained by the concept of “political articulation.” This captures the political process by which parties succeed, at specific historical moments and under certain circumstances, in joining different, even potentially conflictual interests by referring to a common idea and project. The article focuses on Ahmedabad city where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has created a cross-caste bloc through the trope of development. The BJP has been particularly effective in linking the idea of development to mundane concerns about security, identity and spatial order. However, anxieties about the degradation of labour by increased casualization, informalization, and socio-spatial marginalization have disrupted this common sense linkage and weakened the hegemony of the BJP’s model of development.

Regions: South Asia
Countries: India

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© Meredith L. Weiss