Street Hawkers and Public Space in Mumbai

Anjaria, J.S.

Anjaria, Jonathan Shapiro. "Street Hawkers and Public Space in Mumbai." Economic and Political Weekly 41.21 (2006): 2140-146. JSTOR. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.

Class Clash , Hawkers , Informal Economies , Predatory State , Public Space

Street hawking is generally considered as a "menace" or an "eyesore" that prevents the development of Mumbai as a world-class city. But this article explores the essential presence of hawkers in a city, which requires a critical understanding of the functioning of public space. The experiences of hawkers in Mumbai, as elsewhere in India, have taught them not to fear a regulatory state, but a predatory one, a state that constantly demands bribes and threatens demolition, against which a licence provides security.

Main finding
The aim of this study stated by the author is to elicit new ways of thinking about the place of hawkers in Mumbai's future, by demonstrating the complexity of their daily lives and their interactions with the state. The author describes the situation of hawkers with regards to the Law, Public Space and the State. In her conclusion, she argues that street hawkers have positive impacts on all cities, and that it is crucial for planning parties to fully recognise, integrate abd take advantage of this unknown wealth that most cities have.

Description of method used in the article
Field research with unlicensed street hawkers in Mumbai Interviews and informal conversations with activists working with Mumbai's elite NGO and resident associations. Statements made at public meetings

Of practical use

Organising categories

Economic Transactions
Field Observations
Physical types
Geographic locations