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Not-so-Caring Cities and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Urban India- Contextualising Geographies of Care and Resilience

March 24, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 pm

By Lakshya Yog, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India |

For some, the virus is capable of illuminating the limits of capitalism (Butler, 2020; Harvey, 2020) while others believe that it holds the potential to normalise the state of exception (Agamben, 2020) and significantly alter urban life (Shenker, 2020), maybe it will, but possibly in variegated, situated, differentiated, and fractured manner. Given numbers are tossed, produced, circulated, and consumed everyday to make sense of the severity, magnitude, extent, and impact of the ‘calamity’ on the economic, social, political, and personal life-worlds of people across the globe, the present paper departs from the number-game and intends to explore the urbanness of the pandemic in India and its response to it. By foregrounding the conception of care as a cluster concept (Hughes, 2002) as derived from the feminist theory, I aim to outline the ways in which cities in India have responded to the crisis in a ‘care-less’ manner. By doing a critical reading of legislations such as the Disaster Management Act 2005, the Epidemic Disease Act 1897, and various orders released by the Central and State Governments in India along with telephonic interviews conducted with migrants, the paper shows that principle axes along which response to pandemic was planned, managed and implemented were biopolitical (Foucault, 1998) rather than care. I wish to extend this analysis to argue that a response to the crisis of this nature should be based on the cluster of care- responsibility- dependency- independence in order to produce and sustain situated geographies of care in urban India. Such geographies of care will be crucial to imagine and plan cities of care (Power, Williams, 2019) as a resilience strategy for the future.


March 24, 2022
10:00 am - 10:30 pm
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Arbeitskreis Geographische Stadtforschung im Entwicklungskontext


Transient Spaces and Societies