Monday, 1 August 2011

From `Dangerous Classes' to `Quiet Rebels': Politics of the Urban Subaltern in the Global South

by Asef Bayat, 2000

A major consequence of the new global restructuring in the developing countries has been the double process of integration, on the one hand, and social exclusion and informalization, on the other. These processes, meanwhile, have meant further growth of a marginalized and deinstitutionalized subaltern in Third World cities. How do the urban grassroots respond to their marginalization and exclusion? What form of politics, if any at all, do they espouse? Critically navigating through the prevailing perspectives including the culture of poverty, survival strategy, urban social movements and everyday resistance, the article suggests that the new global restructuring is reproducing subjectivities (marginalized and deinstitutionalized groups such as the unemployed, casual labor, street subsistence workers, street children and the like), social space and thus a terrain of political struggles that current theoretical perspectives cannot on their own account for. The article proposes an alternative outlook, a `quiet encroachment of the ordinary', that might be useful to examine the activism of the urban subaltern in the Third World cities

Click here to download this article in pdf.