Sangeeta is an urban geographer interested in the politics of informality within the cities of the Global South. Working at the intersection of anthropology of the state, Urban Studies and Development Studies, she is deeply influenced by a post-colonial and feminist perspective. After serving as an activist, urban planner and researcher in varying institutions of the megacity of Mumbai, she started studying the role of fixers in making the urban planning bureaucracy within the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) visible to the public. In her research she illustrates that the fixers formulate the underlying geographical processes which variously shadow, support, and subvert the postcolonial bureaucracy.
Based on ethnographic fieldwork within the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), her research illustrates the "field of fixing," a brokerage structure that has emerged as a fundamental characteristic of Mumbai's bureaucracy, shaping the postcolonial state from within. Synthesizing the rich literature on the everyday state in South Asia with a spatial-analytical approach derived from urban geography and Bourdieusian field studies, she explicates a hierarchy of expert fixers, operating within the "field of fixing," manipulating and maintaining the relationship of the real estate industry with the urban bureaucracy in Mumbai. She shows fixers, not as the struggling peasants or the subaltern figures, but as the agents who maintain a state outside itself, a shadow state of affairs that makes the shiny World Bank-sponsored exterior of the world-class city, but also ensure slippages that tarnish that city's sheen. Instead of seeing these fixers as nebulous beings, momentarily appearing to mediate between petitioners and the bureaucracy, her research traces a structure composed of these agents, which mediates between the fields of the bureaucratic state and various developers of land in Mumbai.
- Banerji, Sangeeta. (April 2023). “Māṇḍavlī: Negotiating with Digital Governance in Mumbai.” Urban Geography.
Banerji, Sangeeta. (Revised and Resubmitted, September 2023). “Field of Fixing: Negotiating with the Urban Bureaucracy of Mumbai.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
Banerji, Sangeeta. (Under review, January 2023). “Drafting Development: Technological transformations in Urban Planning of Mumbai.” City
Banerji, Sangeeta. (May 2021) “Shazia: Proof maker” in Bombay Brokers: Ethnography in the Global Interregnum. Edited by Lisa Björkman. Duke University Press.
Banerji, Sangeeta and Ghertner, Asher. (December 2022) “Modernism to Smart city Urbanism” in Alternative Planning Theory. Edited by Dorina Pojani. Routledge.
- PhD, Geography
MA/MS, Urban Policy and Governance
Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Bsc, Life Sciences
St. Xavier's College, Mumbai University