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Rule By AestheticsWorld-Class City Making in Delhi$
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Asher Ghertner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385560.001.0001

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Aesthetic Criminalization

Aesthetic Criminalization

The Nuisance of Slums

Chapter:
(p.99) 4 Aesthetic Criminalization
Source:
Rule By Aesthetics
Author(s):

D. Asher Ghertner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385560.003.0005

Chapter 4 considers how nuisance talk travels into the judicial process, codifying the aesthetic sensibilities discussed in the previous two chapters into a distinctly propertied form of citizenship. Through an analysis of court documents in slum-related cases from the past thirty years, it shows how a reinterpretation of public nuisance granted the world-class aesthetic a statutory footing. Specifically, by tying a settlement’s legal standing to its visual appearance, the judiciary ordered the massive demolition of slums based on their affront to world-class aesthetic codes. Through detailed observations of court proceedings and the practical means by which judges see and classify distant territories, the chapter reveals how “nuisance” moves from a lay term used to identify sensory disgust to a statutory device for ordering space—one that led to a tenfold increase in the pace of slum demolitions at the turn of the millennium.

Keywords:   nuisance law, gentrification, judicial activism, world-class city, sovereign power, aesthetic politics, eviction, urban political ecology, urban environment, new middle class

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