Speculation and Dispossession in Andhra Pradesh

We have just published “Anticipating Future Capital: Regional Caste Contestations, Speculation and Silent Dispossession in Andhra Pradesh” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1725598) by Sanam Roohi of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Germany.

This is the final article for a forthcoming special issue on the new land wars in India, due out in Issue 5 this year.

The abstract for the article states:

In 2014, the state of Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated by the Indian government, leaving the truncated state without a capital city. A period of political uncertainty before bifurcation and the announcement of the new capital city created possibilities for land speculation and for the acceleration of the commodification of real estate in different parts of the state. Concentrating on Guntur-Vijayawada in the Coastal Andhra region and Donakonda town close to the Rayalaseema region, this article explores how speculative investments based on political calculations by members of regional elite castes translated into the emergence of competing regional investment zones as possible future choices of the capital city. Through an extended and largely ethnographic study, this article shows how caste politics and regional processes of land speculation led to land transfers without violent struggles between different groups. Rather, the cultural politics of regional differentiation and the economy of anticipation allowed a pragmatic convergence of interests to emerge, where acquisition of agricultural land was followed by silent dispossession.

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