This essay examines the relationship between the changing organization of urban space and the evolving political culture of a Mumbai slum. Recent work emphasizes that the contemporary city is highly fragmented and poor people are incapable of realizing a fully civil society. The essay uses the case of struggles over the redevelopment of Golibar to critically interrogate these arguments. The essay finds that the city’s poor are the social location that continues to sustain the aspiration for an inclusive urbanism and a more civil society.

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