Abhayraj Naik


Street vending is ambivalent in India’s imagination of law, space, and self. This essay attempts to excavate street vending in India as an interstice: an enquiry directed towards how street vending is entangled with specific theoretical and ideological positions concerning culture, citizenship, commodification, consumption, globalization, legality, modernity, neoliberalism, poverty, politics, public space, and social movements. The focus of my excavation of interstitial street vending in India is twofold. First, a methodological front-staging of the interconnections between law, space and time in India. Second, an acknowledgment of the importance of revisionist accounts of Indian modernity; accounts that note emergent politics of urban space and the city while avoiding seductive binary reductionisms of public/private, inside/outside, formal/informal, legal/illegal, planned/unplanned, liberal/socialist, colonial/post-colonial, and modern/obsolete. While this essay focuses on an admittedly eclectic range of themes and categories of analysis, the hope is that the reader is nonetheless left with a sense of what is at stake and what must be considered in ongoing discussions on market reforms, public space, urbanism, informality and urban street vending in India.

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Abhayraj Naik, 'Wizards at Making a Virtue of Necessity': Street Vendors in India' (2015) 11(1) Socio-Legal Review 1

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