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ERIC Number: ED548540
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 284
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-16773
Specters of Waste in India's "Silicon Valley": The Underside of Bangalore's Hi-Tech Economy
Narayanareddy, Rajyashree
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota
The southern Indian city of Bangalore is extolled as India's "Silicon Valley," emerging over the past decade as a premier site for capital flows into India's Information Technology (IT) sector. In the dominant narrative of globalization Bangalore is lauded as an aspiring "global city" that attracts sizeable quantities of foreign capital. Yet such triumphalist narratives of Bangalore overlook how the city also serves as a conduit through which waste (tied to capital flows and production, changing demographics and lifestyle) flows and accumulates. For instance, 6,0008,000 tons of toxic electronic waste, or e-waste, are generated annually (mostly from the IT sector) and over 2,300 tons of municipal solid waste is generated per day in the city. This unheralded economy of waste constitutes a grim underside of Bangalore's globalized IT-led "knowledge economy," to be collected, sifted and processed, with few or no safety precautions, by workers drawn from the weakest sections of the urban population--Muslim men and Dalit (outcaste) women. This dissertation posits that Bangalore's circuits of waste offer a forceful line of inquiry into questions of urban sustainability, environmental (in)justice and environmental governance. Thus, in this dissertation I interrogate the city's circuits of waste, which I take to encompass both movements of material waste as well as the labor processes that surround them. Based upon this interrogation I call into question the cultivated image of knowledge industries as socially and environmentally benign engines of growth, and document the ecological footprint of the IT industry and their routine violation of basic tenets of environmental justice. I also show how the unrecognized and underpaid labors of waste workers subsidize the environmental costs of the city's IT boom. By drawing attention to the effaced labors of waste workers, this research provokes policymakers and environmental experts to engage waste workers in an ethical discourse that recognizes their rights and claims to the city. Beyond delineating the ecological footprint of the IT sector and documenting the social injustices experienced by waste workers this dissertation shows how the category of "waste" operates as the material and epistemological Other of capitalism's regime of "value," whose interrogation enables a grounded critique of urban commodity cultures and the historicist narratives of development that undergird them. Specifically, this dissertation shows that accumulation in the IT city is predicated upon the subsidies offered by "disposable waste workers" and the enclosure of "waste" and "wastelands". In short, this research is concerned with the "hidden" (subaltern) history of Bangalore's urban present, particularly the role that the urban poor such as waste workers and wastelands play in enabling the reproduction of the city's (knowledge) economy. By paying attention to waste this dissertation not only offers a critique of capital-centric teleologies of Bangalore's emergence as India's IT capital but also spatializes subalternity, that is, it reveals how people and places that are on the margins of the IT sector enable the center that is the IT-led knowledge economy. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India