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My work investigates how social inequalities are produced and reinforced through urban economies and infrastructures, using an ethnographic perspective to illuminate the everyday roots of larger political-economic transformations. Examining the informal waste collection and recycling economy in Delhi, India, my dissertation examines how informality has managed to persist and even grow despite predictions that it would become obsolete. The theoretical aims of the project are twofold: first, to reconstruct theories of informal economies by demonstrating their rootedness in pre-existing social relations and connections to institutions commonly understood as market and state; and second, to demonstrate how these informal economic spaces intersect with urban planning processes.
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Ann Arbor, MI
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