A political party worker who produces crowds for electoral rallies. A “prison specialist” who serves other people’s prison sentences in exchange for a fee. An engineer who is able to secure otherwise impossible building permits. These and other Mumbaikars—whose behind-the-scenes expertise and labor are often invisible—have an intrinsic role in the city's functioning and can be indispensable for navigating everyday life in Mumbai. At our Online Talk #BombayBrokers, urban anthropologist Dr. Lisa Björkman profiles a few such “brokers” and brings into relief the paradox that these brokers’ knowledge and labor are simultaneously invisible yet essential for the city’s functioning.
Please note: The talk link will be shared a couple of hours before the event
About the speaker
Dr. Lisa Björkman is an Associate Professor of Urban affairs at the University of Louisville. She has been researching and writing in Mumbai since 2008. Her first book Pipe Politics, Contested Waters: Embedded Infrastructures of Millennial Mumbai, was published by Duke University Press and Orient BlackSwan in 2015. Her second, Waiting Town: life in transit and Mumbai's other world class histories, was published in 2020 by Columbia University Press, and a Marathi edition is forthcoming! Bombay Brokers is her third book.