Displacement, Revolution, and the New Urban Condition provides a window into the global urban contradiction through the lens of a Third World city. It is not a book on urban India, or a book on Ahmedabad city, or even a book on the Sabarmati River Front Development (SRFD) project, but it is a book that uses all these lenses to conceptualize urban exploitation.
The author develops a dialectical praxis of theory transfer that takes us from the First World to the Third World and back again. In the process, the arrow of theory transfer is not reversed, because theory cannot be transferred by simply changing the direction of the arrow; instead, an attempt is made to (re)produce and (re)inform different conceptual worlds by juxtaposing it with the SRFD project in Ahmedabad city.
This book is, therefore, as much about the poor people of Ahmedabad as it is about global urban displacement and the politics of resettlement and resistance—theory and practice are always inflected, and the chapters demonstrate this inflection deeply and clearly. The point is to change the world, and to do so we must relentlessly struggle to better the concepts that we use to understand it with. This book is such a struggle.
Chapter 6: Reversing the Arrow? Theory Transfer and Theory-Building
Reversing the Arrow? Theory Transfer and Theory-Building
In this book, I have attempted to analyze the Third World urban condition in the context of globalization, particularly neoliberal globalization through the lens of the Sabarmati River Front Development (SRFD) project in Ahmedabad city, India. It is important to be very clear here: I am not saying that we can use the SRFD case as a basis for a broad generalization of the nature and trajectory of urban change throughout the Third World; instead, I am claiming that the SRFD project is sufficiently complex to allow for important theoretical insights into how cities are reinventing themselves in many parts of the Third World. Therefore, while the conclusions drawn are not intended ...