Urban Informality: Symptomatic of an End of the Welfare State?

Akriti Bhatia


In this paper, I attempt to understand the relation between receding welfare state and its relationship with growing informality across the globe. Is it a mere co-incidence that the shrinking of the welfare state overlaps with the expanding informal economy? After a brief discussion on the categories of the State and informality in general, the paper focuses on changing nature of the State and its bearing, specifically on the response and production/reproduction of urban informality. How is the welfare state understood through categories like developmentalism and populism, and how is its demise being discussed specifically with respect to labour (more specifically, informal labour relations), unionisation and the idea of social justice, is investigated. The heterogeneity, peculiarities and diverse understandings of the State would further complicate this puzzle while dealing with informality (through field work and other case studies). State’s larger character and role is analysed through a classical political economy approach, where its relation to capital and its accumulation is a constant backdrop.

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