South Asia

Organized Panel Session

5 - Social Change in NCR: How Urbanization Affects Attitudes

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Tamarind, New Building

Urbanization is as much a social process as it is an economic and spatial process. Cities are sites of social change that offer possibilities for social mobility by disrupting the social stratifications of rural societies. What does India's rapid urbanization mean for social identities and social cleavages in the country? Will some cleavages be amplified and others attenuated, and will new identities and cleavages emerge? This paper addresses these questions in the case of the National Capital Region (NCR) of India by examining some of the principal mechanisms that might shape social change: wealth, migration, occupations, political affiliations, and neighborhoods. Specifically, this paper uses data from a large-scale representative survey of 5477 households in NCR in order to measure intra-household and inter-household social change. We analyze changes in hierarchies of age and gender within the family, as well as hierarchies of caste and religion in interactions with neighbors and non-relatives. We demonstrate how interactions leading to social change are shaped by wealth, migration, political affiliation and gender. The paper concludes by offering some conjectures on why urbanization's promise in transforming social identities in India might be different from the stylized expectations of development and modernization.

Sumitra Badrinathan

University of Pennsylvania, United States

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Devesh Kapur

University of Pennsylvania, United States

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