The Death of Shankar: Social Exclusion and Tuberculosis in a Poor Neighbourhood in Bhubaneswar, Odisha

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Labels like ‘the poor’ are very common in development discourse as well as in academic discussions of issues like marginalization, discrimination and exclusion. This chapter seeks to ‘deconstruct’ the label not at the discoursive level but through an ethnography of a small poor neighborhood (basti) in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa. The chapter explores the heterogeneous and hierarchical composition of the basti and unfolds the case of the social exclusion and ultimate death of a patient with tuberculosis who belonged to the poorest section of the basti, called Pradhan sahi. The case of both patient and basti is briefly discussed in relation to an analytical framework proposed by M. Douglas that seeks to disentangle – or qualify – the concept of ‘culture’ from notions of poverty and development. The analysis shows the internal divides within the small neighbourhood and suggests that the basti may be seen as a microcosmic version of the larger Indian society undergoing rapid transformation and economic growth, but also with strong barriers to the idea of ‘inclusive growth’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNavigating Social Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary India and Beyond : structures, agents, practices
EditorsUwe Skoda, Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger
Number of pages238
PublisherAnthem Press
Publication dateMay 2013
ISBN (Print)9780857283221
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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