Discoursing on Slums: Representing the Cosmopolitan Subaltern

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Representing the Cosmopolitan Subaltern” identifies the precarious condition of slum dwellers in the interstices of neoliberal market forces, state indifference and subaltern cosmopolitanism(s) within which their subject identities are formed, negotiated and represented. Wilson argues that reconstructions of urban subalternity found in fiction and film are indebted to the methods and discourses of oral history, case study and interview used in anthropological and sociological research on slums. Focusing on the fictionalised accounts of Mumbai’s slum dwellers in Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire (2010) and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2012), she identifies the ambiguous positioning of such “slum narratives” in accommodating space for individual agency that defers to the normative conception of rights in the West, while paying little attention to the collective claims for communal belonging, rights and ownership made by the political community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReworking Postcolonialism: Globalization, Labour and Rights
EditorsPavan Kumar Malreddy, Birte Heidemann, Ole Birk Laursen
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781137435927
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2015


  • Television Show
  • Slum Dweller
  • Quiz Question
  • Postcolonial Study
  • Slum Child


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