Key Research Interests and Expertise

I am an urban geographer who specializes in informality and everyday life on the margins, with a particular focus on South Asia and Europe. I am particularly interested in experiences of marginalization, conceptualizations of the ‘good life,’ and the politics of anticipation amongst the urban poor and migrants.

My doctoral research involved ethnographic work in Delhi, examining lived experiences of eviction from informal settlements and resettlement on the margins of the city. The research explored the expressions of uncertainty that featured prominently in narratives of informants regarding their new lives in the resettlement colony. More specifically, the research drew out the 'spatio-temporal disruption' experienced by residents, or the halting of previous migrant trajectories. As a result of a partial form of tenure given to those in the resettlement colony, residents struggle to invest in 'legal' home-making, and are often forced to illegally access basic services in order to survive. I found that resetttlement represents a site of extreme social and spatial marginality for many of my informants, one with certain logics of disconnection that make this form of marginality distinctive from the informal settlements that resettlement residents previously lived in.

Building on my PhD and through new collaborations, I am currently exploring projects between Delhi and Paris/Athens/Berlin:

1) 'Layers of resettlement': this project examines the different government housing schemes present in a Delhi resettlement colony and the relation between the type of built form and residents' desire to upgrade and invest in their dwellings.

2) 'Making do on the margins': this project examines the diversity of approaches to work across the 'rural'-'urban' divide that resettlement residents engage in, thus disrupting traditional and expected work arrangements.

3) 'Temporary migrants or new European citizens? Geographies of intergration and response between 'camps' and the city' (British Academy funded project in collaboration with Dr. Tatiana Thieme, University College London and Dr. Eszter Kovacs, University of Cambridge): this project looks at refugee provisioning and care across different 'nodes' in the European refugee 'crisis, including Athens, Berlin, Paris and the Hungarian-Serbian border.

ID: 59280677