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Democracy in the Globalizing City: Democratic Participation in Mumbai's Mega-Project Development
Unformatted Document Text:  citizens are unable to influence their own governments directly, they may connect with non-local advocacy organizations and make their appeals to super-national institutions or external actors that have influence at the local level. Keck and Sikkink (1998) refer to this phenomenon – when the citizens of one country influence their own government by appealing to the citizens or institutions of another country – as “the boomerang effect.” Arjun Appadurai (2000, 2001) has examined the way the boomerang effect has worked in the context of urban development and slum redevelopment in Mumbai. Appadurai details the activities of an alliance of three Mumbai-based housing advocacy organizations who, through their connections to broader networks of housing advocates and pro-poor organizations, has compelled the local state to create an open and democratic process for re-housing slum dwellers. He refers to this process as an example of “deep democracy” or “grassroots globalization” (Appadurai 2000, 2001). Reviewing these three literatures, the prospects for urban democracy in the context of globalization and global city formation appear mixed. On one hand, the first set of scholars, working from within critical geography and urban political economy, present a bleak picture, finding that a politics of exclusion is typically deployed in the making of global cities. The theorists of urban citizenship, on the other hand, are more optimistic, suggesting that the contentious terrain of global city formation may provide an effective site for the enactment of new forms of democratic citizenship. Meanwhile, the third set of scholars, working within the perspective of transnational advocacy, also identify opportunities for citizens to participate in urban political processes, but identify the transnational scale, rather than the local scale as the most effective site for their 10

Authors: Weinstein, Liza.
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citizens are unable to influence their own governments directly, they may connect with 
non-local advocacy organizations and make their appeals to super-national institutions or 
external actors that have influence at the local level.  Keck and Sikkink (1998) refer to 
this phenomenon – when the citizens of one country influence their own government by 
appealing to the citizens or institutions of another country – as “the boomerang effect.” 
Arjun Appadurai (2000, 2001) has examined the way the boomerang effect has worked in 
the context of urban development and slum redevelopment in Mumbai.  Appadurai 
details the activities of an alliance of three Mumbai-based housing advocacy 
organizations who, through their connections to broader networks of housing advocates 
and pro-poor organizations, has compelled the local state to create an open and 
democratic process for re-housing slum dwellers.  He refers to this process as an example 
of “deep democracy” or “grassroots globalization” (Appadurai 2000, 2001).  
Reviewing these three literatures, the prospects for urban democracy in the 
context of globalization and global city formation appear mixed.  On one hand, the first 
set of scholars, working from within critical geography and urban political economy, 
present a bleak picture, finding that a politics of exclusion is typically deployed in the 
making of global cities.  The theorists of urban citizenship, on the other hand, are more 
optimistic, suggesting that the contentious terrain of global city formation may provide an 
effective site for the enactment of new forms of democratic citizenship.  Meanwhile, the 
third set of scholars, working within the perspective of transnational advocacy, also 
identify opportunities for citizens to participate in urban political processes, but identify 
the transnational scale, rather than the local scale as the most effective site for their 
10


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