Pavement dwelling in Delhi, India: An ethnographic account of survival on the margins

Deborah K. Padgett, Prachi Priyam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines survival among homeless persons ("pavement dwellers") in Delhi, India. In particular, we explore the role of formal and informal relationships in meeting the demands of daily existence and how and when public social welfare programs assist pavement dwellers. Over fifteen months, beginning in 2013, participant observation was conducted, and approximately 200 individuals (homeless persons, government officials, and NGO representatives) were interviewed in Hindi or English. Triangulated data including documents, interviews, and fieldnotes were subjected to thematic analyses. Results produced five themes: persistent illegality, dependence on charitable others, personhood and worthiness, migration and social isolation, and precarious relationships and distrust. Based on the research findings, we make recommendations for legal inclusion, decriminalization, access to health care, and income support for parents with dependent children. Broader concerns about global homelessness are also discussed in the context of growing income inequality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Organization
Volume76
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Fingerprint

homelessness
India
illegality
difference in income
criminalization
participant observation
social welfare
non-governmental organization
social isolation
parents
inclusion
migration
health care
income
interview
Person
Ethnographic
Income
Dwelling
Homeless

Keywords

  • Global South
  • Homelessness
  • Income inequality
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Pavement dwelling in Delhi, India : An ethnographic account of survival on the margins. / Padgett, Deborah K.; Priyam, Prachi.

In: Human Organization, Vol. 76, No. 1, 01.03.2017, p. 73-81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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