Receding rurality, booming periphery: value struggles in Karachi's agrarian-urban frontier

Author Affiliation

Nausheen H. Anwar is Associate Professor, City & Regional Planning at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Was this content written or created while at IBA?


Document Type


Source Publication

Economic and Political Weekly




Social and Behavioral Sciences | Urban Studies and Planning


This paper advances new perspectives on peripheral urbanisation in South Asia by drawing attention to Karachi's rural land transformations. It considers the shift from the metropolis to the agrarian-urban frontier as a process that signals the production of a new value regime centred on the devalorisation of a rural economy and its transformation into urban real estate, as well as the changing priorities and preferences of the state. It proposes that Karachi's agrarian-urban transformations can be understood as value struggles that pivot on three interconnected processes: strategies of enclosure for the production of private property; accumulation by dispossession that separates rural populations from the means of subsistence through direct extra-economic force such as the state; and "value grabbing" or the appropriation and distribution of (surplus) value through rent between diverse state and private actors. Given that this is a deeply political process, the state's role remains salient in terms of its alliances with varied groups-real estate developers, politicians, brokers, waderas- to make land available for capital.

Indexing Information

HJRS - X Category, Scopus

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