Of Poverty and Plastic: Scavenging and Scrap Trading Entrepreneurs in Indias Urban Informal Economy

Hardcover | September 1, 2009

byKaveri Gill

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Of Poverty and Plastic applies an interdisciplinary, 'field economics' approach to poverty analysis, using a mix of survey and ethnographic data to challenge received notions of the nature and extent of narrow income poverty and multiple deprivations experienced by those working in theinformal waste recovery and plastic recycling economy of Delhi. A detailed analysis of specialization, capital, and value in various segments of this labour-intensive, 'green' informal market is undertaken, with explicit recognition of its wider social and political institutional context, and how it is shaped by unequal interactions with civil society and thestate. In particular, the book focuses on the identity and agency of subordinate scheduled caste groups-living literally and metaphorically on the edge of the city-in negotiating 'a decent life' in today's neoliberal environment. The case studies of the ban on recycled polythene bags and the industrial relocation order illustrate the channels through which these actors collectively seek to resist the perceived anti-urban poor status quo, driven by powerful middle class coalitions through legislation or judicial fiat, withvarying degrees of success. In doing so, the book exposes the complex, and at times contrary, policy reality binding poverty and deprivation, formal and informal markets, the state and citizenship in contemporary urban India.

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Of Poverty and Plastic applies an interdisciplinary, 'field economics' approach to poverty analysis, using a mix of survey and ethnographic data to challenge received notions of the nature and extent of narrow income poverty and multiple deprivations experienced by those working in theinformal waste recovery and plastic recycling econo...

Kaveri Gill is Consultant of the Programme Evaluation Organisation, Planning Commission.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.46 × 5.51 × 0.98 inPublished:September 1, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198060866

ISBN - 13:9780198060864

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of AbbreviationsList of Tables and FiguresList of PhotographsMap1. Introduciton2. The City of Delhi3. Waste as Informal Sector Work: Measuring Income Poverty, Inequality, and Deprivation4. Interlinked Contracts and Social Power: Patronage and Exploitation in India's Waste Recovery Market5. Exploitation or Entrepreneurship? Scrap Traders and the Economics of Survival in the Informal Market Economy6. From Pigs and Pollution to Plastics and Progress: Recasting Low Caste Status in India's Expanding Informal Economy7. 'Bourgeois Environmentalism', the State, the Judiciary and the Urban Poor: The Political Mobilization of a Scheduled Caste Market8. ConclusionMethodological NotePlastics AppendixBibliographyIndex