The Political Economy of Urbanization
7-8 December 2016
University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

In recent decades, Bangladesh has joined many other countries in experiencing neoliberal urban transformation that has created new winners and losers in the new urban economy. Millions of the population are being displaced from rural areas and migrating to the cities where they are entrapped in a new form of urban poverty.

Significant portions of resources are being concentrated in the cities and controlled by the neo-rich through state-business nexuses and pervasive corruption that has become a mundane part of urban life. A few national and transnational companies are controlling the lives of people in the cities. Due to economic restructuring, the number employed in public sectors has been declining over the decades. A majority of the people are now dependent on the private sector where they are often exploited.

The number of public housing projects provided to the urban poor is very limited. While the increasing number of real estate companies mostly provide housing for the affluent section of the city. The neoliberal state is withdrawing from its social commitments and non-state agencies especially private sectors are taking on the responsibilities of urban healthcare and educational services. Private schools and universities are being developed in the cities where education becomes a commodity that restricts access to the urban poor.

Public hospitals are unable to provide better services to the people even after charging huge medical bills. A number of private hospitals and clinics have been developed in the cities that are beyond the capacity of common people. In fact, the privatization of urban services often excludes the poor who are unable to afford it.

The urban environment has been significantly affected due to mega-projects and neoliberal development. The ordinary urban dwellers are becoming the victims of environmental injustices. Due to new forms of technology, we are experiencing new forms of urban crime and violence. Money laundering, fraud, hacking and cyber crimes have become very common.

The new forms of urbanism and consumer culture are developing in the cities of the global South. The city of Dhaka has developed as a city of shopping malls, salons, cafes, restaurants and gymnasiums. The new youth culture developing in the city does not represent the mainstream culture of the nation. It is in these contexts, the conference aims to draw together experts working on the urban political economy to enhance our understandings of these changes. Comparative and historical perspectives are encouraged. This can include comparing the new and old political economies of cities, or comparing the political economy of cities in Bangladesh to other countries.

Topics might include, but not limited to:

  1. Political Economy of Urban Expansion
  2. Political Economy of Urban Economic Restructuring
  3. Political Economy of Urban Housing and Real Estate
  4. Political Economy of Urban Education
  5. Political Economy of Urban Healthcare
  6. Political Economy of Urban Sustainability
  7. Political Economy of Urban Crime and Violence
  8. Political Economy of Urban Consumption

Submit abstracts to Prof. Shahadat Hossain, Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Email: shahadat.hossain@du.ac.bd or urdsbd@gmail.com

Deadline of submission of abstracts: 31 July, 2016