Demanding development: The politics of public goods provision in India’s urban slums

Published on 30 June 2021

In the latest episode of IDS’ podcast Between the Lines, IDS Fellow Shandana Mohmand interviews Adam Auerbach, author of the book: Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India’s Urban Slums.

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The book draws on more than two years of fieldwork in the north Indian cities of Bhopal and Jaipur, and accounts for the uneven success of India’s slum residents in securing local public goods and services.

Auerbach’s theory centers on the political organization of slum settlements and the informal slum leaders who spearhead resident efforts to make claims on the state – in particular, those slum leaders who are party workers. He finds striking variation in the extent to which networks of party workers have spread across slum settlements.

Demanding Development shows how this variation in the density and partisan distribution of party workers across settlements has powerful consequences for the ability of residents to politically mobilize to improve local conditions.

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Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India’s Urban Slums


Dr. Shandana Khan Mohmand is a social scientist whose main area of research is inequality and inclusive politics. She leads the IDS Governance research cluster, and the IDS Pakistan Hub. She is the author of Crafty Oligarchs, Savvy Voters: Democracy Under Inequality in Rural Pakistan (2019, Cambridge University Press), and a number of other journal articles and book chapters.

About the author

Professor Adam Auerbach’s research and teaching focus on local governance, urban politics, and the political economy of development, with a regional focus on South Asia and India in particular. He is Associate Professor, School of International Service, American University, Washington.

About the Between the Lines podcast

Exploring books for a better world.

This podcast series explores books with ideas for positive social and environmental change. Each month we feature a book and an interview with its author. The discussions give an insight on the themes covered in the book, exploring the challenges and discoveries, and why the issues matter for progressive and sustainable development globally.

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