Are 'the destitute' destitute? Understanding micro-inequalities through the concept of defiled surpluses

Are 'the destitute' destitute? Understanding micro-inequalities through the concept of defiled surpluses

Author: 
Jackman, David
Publisher: 
SAGE Publications
Date published: 
2017
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Environment and Urbanization
Source: 
Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 29, No. 1, April 2017, pp. 251-266
Abstract: 

The poorest and most marginalized people in cities are often understood to be those living in the worst forms of shelter or with none at all. They are labelled the "homeless", the "destitute" and the "extreme poor". Based on ethnographic research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, this article challenges this association, arguing that living in the worst conditions can enable people to earn, save, and invest in lives and livelihoods elsewhere. Their capacity to do so is generally related to the urban potential for creating "defiled surpluses", resources that can be productively exploited but at the cost of an association with the defiled. These costs and opportunities are not however equally distributed, and recognizing this helps us to understand the nature of micro-inequalities. In Dhaka the presence of people living on pavements and in markets, parks and transport terminals can represent destitution, but also the astute negotiation of the city.

Language: 

CITATION: Jackman, David. Are 'the destitute' destitute? Understanding micro-inequalities through the concept of defiled surpluses . : SAGE Publications , 2017. Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 29, No. 1, April 2017, pp. 251-266 - Available at: http://library.au.int/are-destitute-destitute-understanding-micro-inequalities-through-concept-defiled-surpluses