[CSH-CPR Urban Workshop #172] Unreal Estate in a Global City: Slums in Hyderabad as Auto-constructed Property Markets (I. Jonnalagadda)

[CSH-CPR Urban Workshop #172] Unreal Estate in a Global City: Slums in Hyderabad as Auto-constructed Property Markets (I. Jonnalagadda)

Event Details

  • Date:

The Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) & Centre for Policy Research (CPR)

are pleased to invite you to an Urban Workshop (n°172)


 Indivar Jonnalagadda

(Assistant Professor of International Studies, Miami University, Ohio)


Unreal Estate in a Global City:

Slums in Hyderabad as Auto-constructed Property Markets


Tuesday, 25 June 2024, at 3:45 pm IST onwards

The session will be online over ZOOM, to register kindly fill out THIS FORM

About the talk: In recent years, Hyderabad (India) has consistently been touted among the most promising destinations for global real estate investment. In juxtaposition with Hyderabad’s ascendancy in terms of global real estate, the speaker interrogates the dynamics of property markets in the slum settlements of Hyderabad, which are home to more than two million people. In the lexicon of the global real estate industry and agencies like the World Bank, the lands categorized as slum are “locked up” and are a source of distortion for the smooth functioning of real estate markets. In the offices of the state and city governments, the lands locked away in slums are permanent territories of poverty, and the urban poor are only afforded non-alienable property rights by law. By discounting the economic capacities and aspirations of slum residents in this way, the state curtails them from being full participants in various markets. Slum residents are excluded from property markets and are relegated to participating in unregulated markets in search of housing and finance. The speaker argues that they transact in auto-constructed forms of property, which are legally fraught, limited in scope and fungibility, and politically vulnerable. Hence, he describes them as unreal estate. This talk will illustrate the processes by which unreal estate is assembled and exchanged in an unstable economy of claims and possession within the slum, and also show the limits it places on the people involved.


Indivar Jonnalagadda is an ethnographer, teacher, writer, and multimodal creator. He is an Assistant Professor of International Studies at Miami University. He received a PhD in Anthropology and South Asia Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2023. He worked as a Research Associate at Hyderabad Urban Lab from 2012 to 2014, and he had previously completed an MA in Development Studies from TISS, Mumbai. His research focuses on urban environments, governance, and politics through a combination of ethnographic, archival, and spatial methods. His individual and collaborative research projects have covered a range of topics such as housing rights, urban water bodies, sanitation infrastructure, and education.


This is the one hundred and seventy-two (172) in a series of Urban Workshops planned by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi, and Centre for Policy Research (CPR). These workshops seek to provoke public discussion on the city’s development issues and address all its facets including its administration, culture, economy, society, and politics. For further information, please contact: Stéphanie Tawa Lama of CSH at tawalama@ehess.frMukta Naik at mukta@cprindia.org, or Marie-Hélène Zerah at marie-helene.zerah@ird.fr

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