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Srivastava, Sanjay (2023) 'Urban Theo-topias: Religious Claims to Space and the Language of Administrative Rationality in the New City of Gurugram, India.' Religion and Urbanity Online.

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Abstract

The city of Gurugram, the administrative headquarters of a district of the same name, is located in the state of Haryana. Gurugram adjoins the southern borders of Delhi and has been the site of intense urban development over the past two decades. Rapid urbanisation has attracted a variety of workers from different parts of the country. Unlike Hindus, however, the majority of the Muslim migrants to the city tend to be poor and unskilled. In recent times, there has been a great deal of public debate and conflict over Muslims offering namaaz (prayer) at different public places – such as streets and parks – in the city. Both official and private pronouncements regarding public namaaz is couched in the language of urban administrative rationality: viz., the ‘proper’ uses of public land and religious practice as a possible source of permanent illegal occupation of public land.This article explores the manner in which specific discourses of planning and administration in Gurugram – despite their ‘neutral’ vocabulary – become aligned to political and cultural agendas of urban ‘theo-topias’, viz., the processes of producing religion-specific spaces. It also outlines relationships between class, religious identity, the state and private capital that produce new ideas of ‘the people’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: City, religion, India
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
ISSN: 27508080
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1515/urbrel.13901298
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2023 08:57
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/39910
Funders: British Academy

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