Urban informality, ethnicity, and territory: Politics in Karachi

December 13, 2012 | 14:30 h - 16:00 h

Crossroads Asia lecture held by Hussain Bux Mallah, Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi.


Ethnicity has, justifiably, been a widely used marker for framing politics in Karachi. It is intimately connected with the histories of migration and settlement into the city. Urban informality is closely connected to migration and the process of assimilation of migrant cohorts as citizens. Studies elsewhere have highlighted the significance of ‘demand-making’ on the part of informal settlements, and the tension between regulation and regularization as shaping the tone and content of urban politics. While informality and regularization have been acknowledged as key features of Karachi’s urban experience, there is relatively little work on the possible connections between informality, ethnicity and Karachi’s politics. We seek to address this gap in the literature by examining Karachi’s neighborhoods using data from the population census and the election commission to offer the latest insights in the city’s political divisions.


Research for this paper presentation was co-authored with Haris Gazdar. Both are researchers of the Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi (http://www.researchcollective.org/index.php). The Collective is one of the outstanding social science research think tanks in Pakistan. It is recognized for three main areas of innovation in the practice of applied social sciences in Pakistan: the introduction of a political economy perspective in macro- and micro-issues; the attention to informal collective action and social networks; and the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The Collective's objective is to produce high quality academic research in the social sciences and to foster informed debate on social, political and economic issues and policies.


Venue: ZEF, Walter-Flex-Strasse 3, 53113 Bonn, Room 2.008

(second floor)


For more information on the competence network Crossroads Asia have a look at the Website http://www.crossroads-asia.de/

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