From the core to the periphery

Vij, Sumit; Narain, Vishal; Karpouzoglou, Timothy; Mishra, Patik


Recent studies that emphasize the contested nature of resource allocation address the politics of periurban development. However, the issue of conflicts and cooperation in periurban contexts continues to remain weakly studied. Based on the study of periurban Gurgaon in North-West India, this paper unravels the different types of conflicts and cooperation that have emerged around land and water, drawing insights from conflict/cooperation studies and urban political ecology. We focus on how changes in land-use bring about changes in water use, access and practices in periurban Gurgaon, giving rise to new forms of conflicts, conflicts of interest and cooperation. Conflicts over land and water are linked to the changing characteristics of land and water appropriation that has occurred in the aftermath of neoliberal reforms. Drawing insights from urban political ecolog perspective, we show how periurban areas are systematically undermined through the acquisition of land and water to serve urban expansion and growth. We conclude that periurban conflicts are rooted in the issue of land-use change and are fundamentally tied to the politics of urbanization and its impact on periurban areas. These processes give rise to conflicts of interest and explicit conflicts, whilst creating new forms of cooperation. Cooperation is exemplified by emerging forms of collective action over the use of wastewater and groundwater. The paper distinguishes between conflict and cooperation but concludes that these are in fact not mutually exclusive; rather points along a continuum.