Theorie / Praxis Projekt
S.O.S. / Inside-Outside / from mapping to dérive: self-organisation between state oppression, democratic collapse and international development policies in Dhaka, Bangladesh
In the last years, Bangladesh has been repeatedly declared a “development model” for its progress in the fields of poverty alleviation, advancement of women and climate resilience, lately also for granting protection to Myanmar refugees. In 2017, it was officially included in the list of newly industrialised countries, a list which acknowledges strengthened “urban”, that is, non-agricultural, production modes. However, most economic reports remain silent on the human and ecologic dark sides of a development model that not only does privilege the cities—and eminently the capital, Dhaka—over rural areas, but also neglects the rights of workers and often, even human rights. The exploitation of Bangladesh’s textile workers is only its internationally most popularised manifestation; another is the uncontrolled urban growth and the formation of spontaneous settlements, built in self-organised manner predominantly by rural-urban migrants escaped from chronic poverty.
The participants in this project shall deal with questions around urbanisation in non-western contexts, the causes of rural-urban migration, as well as the type of industrial “development” envisaged by supranational bodies such as the World Bank. On this basis, and using the example of Karail Basti, a self-organised settlement in Dhaka, they will study and devise ways of uncovering inhabitants’ tactics and strategies. The conceptual entry point is provided by a focus on inside-outside relations: looking through this lens at Karail Basti, which might appear as being separated from its environment physically-geographically, by a lake, as well as socially-sociologically, by the stigma of poverty and “illegality”, one realises that its inhabitants entertain multifarious relationships both in and to the settlement’s “inside” and in and to its extended “outside”.
But how, by which media and which narratives can family, neighbourhood, work-commercial and financial interactions, as well as their relationship with the city as a whole and urban life, be conveyed? Students will avail of the rich Karail-archive curated by Habitat Forum Berlin and of the possibility to take part in a field trip in Bangladesh in February 2019.
They may achieve 10 (“Projekt I”) or 16 ECTS (“Hauptprojekt”, upon consultation) via regular participation, presentations and practical works.