Special Economic Zones and Middle-class Connectivity in Urbanizing India

By Niharika Banerjea.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Special economic zones are production sites that provide tax incentives, factories, or plots with extended lease and infrastructure facilities to investors. I use the term ‘connectivity’ to highlight the cultural context within which production nodes are established and institutional and infrastructure improvement occurs. Focusing on new township development, this paper demonstrates how SEZs promise middle-class connectivity through the availability of economic opportunities, spatial proximity to ports and airports, green landscapes, reliable infrastructure and services, and security. In delineating the importance of the middle-classes to the story of SEZs in India, I conclude that despite doubtful claims about its promises, the perceived position of the middle-classes in the world is appealing because it promises to reproduce a community that seeks to participate in an urban resurgence that has already happened in other parts of the globe.

Keywords: Urban Restructuring, India, Special Economic Zones, New Townships, Middle-classes

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.127-140. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.079MB).

Niharika Banerjea

Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN, USA

I teach and research in the areas of globalization, urban studies, and development. My immediate field of interest is cultural and economic processes in contemporary urban India. Having lived and worked in Kolkata, Delhi, Buffalo and now Evansville, I consider myself straddled across a multiplicity of ‘zones’, all of which inform my work and life in general. At present, I am working on two projects; on on special economic zones and the other on sexuality and cities. While the former project is analytical, the latter is based on continuing fieldwork in select urban centers in India.


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