Although legal exclusion in slums has not been featured prominently in global health research, recent studies on Indian cities have shown a strong relationship between legal exclusion and various poor outcomes including infant mortality, child vaccination, child and adult under nutrition, literacy, and educational attainment. Community environmental deficiencies, including deficiencies in infrastructure and location disadvantages, are among the explanations most frequently cited to explain poorer health outcomes in non-notified slums, as compared to notified slums.
On the one hand, legally recognized slums such as Dharavi has drawn political and economic strength by extensive negotiations with politicians, police officers, and representatives of civil society organizations, whereas on the other, for residents of more precarious — although not necessarily non-notified — slums, such negotiations are often less successful or can exact a significant personal and collective price even when they are successful.
Building on these insights from social epidemiology, urban ethnography, and migration studies, our research will investigate how legal exclusion, in particular, shapes social conditions, as well as how it impacts subjective experiences of health and well being, and intersects with other forms of social marginalization based on gender, caste, and religion.
This research explores the construction of legal exclusion in Kaula Bandar using several methods across three analytic levels:
A fourth comparative research component entails ethnographic research and life history interviews in two additional, similarly sized but differently administered slums to help disentangle the impacts of legal exclusion from other community-level characteristics of informal settlements in Mumbai.
It will employ a CBPR strategy that utilizes the “barefoot researcher” model developed by Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR), the Mumbai-based partner organization for this study.
Robert R. Wood Foundation
Chair; Associate Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine
Stipend Graduate Assistant
Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research
Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action, and Research (PUKAR)