Sushmita Pati, “Properties of Rent: Community, Capital and Politics in Globalising Delhi” (Cambridge UP, 2022)

We live in cities whose borders have always been subject to expansion. What does such transformation of rural spaces mean for cities and vice-versa? Properties of Rent: Community, Capital and Politics in Globalising Delhi (Cambridge UP, 2022) looks at the spatial transformation of villages brought into Delhi’s urban fray in the 1950s. As these villages transform physically; their residents, an agrarian-pastoralist community – the Jats – also transform into dabblers in real estate. A study of two villages – Munirka and Shahpur Jat – both in the heart of bustling urban economies of Delhi, reveal that it is ‘rent’ that could define this suburbanisation. ‘Bhaichara’, once a form of land ownership in colonial times, transforms into an affective claim of belonging, and managing urban property in the face of a steady onslaught from the ‘city’. Properties of Rent is a study of how a vernacular form of capitalism and its various affects shape up in opposition to both state, finance capital and the city in contemporary urban Delhi.

Sushmita Pati is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. She studied Political Science at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is interested in studying the intersections of Urban Politics and Political Economy. Her recent book, Properties of Rent: Community, Capital and Politics in Globalising Delhi is now out from Cambridge University Press.

Saronik Bosu (@SaronikB on Twitter) is a doctoral candidate in English at New York University. He is writing his dissertation on literary rhetoric and economic thought. He co-hosts the podcast High Theory and is a co-founder of the Postcolonial Anthropocene Research Network.

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