Friday, October 26, 2012

Bangalore: The Coming of Post-Industrial Society?

Manka Bajaj

In the 1970s scholars like Daniel Bell predicted a shift from “industrial” to “post-industrial” society; and as most prophecies in social theory are destined for, became a subject of controversy. This essay uses David Harvey’s idea of continuity (rather than rupture) to frame the theoretical argument. The aim is to explain how the industrial city model, in which the city is structured by the industry, still remains relevant to explain urbanization in Bangalore.

The idea that Bangalore is still a predominantly industrial city is not new. Scholars like James Heitzman and Smriti Srinivas have demonstrated that the industrial legacy of the city is not yet past and remains vibrant. While the author is in full agreement with this argument, this paper takes a different approach to establish the industrial character of the city i.e. through the high-tech IT industry. This appears a more relevant approach to engage with current theoretical debates that emphasize the transition from goods to service production and consequently, knowledge production as the new driver of urban development.

The first section traces the roots of the IT sector in Bangalore's high-tech industry to argue that the city is not yet in a post-industrial stage but rather in an advanced industrial stage. After establishing that the city is still industrializing, the second section explores how this industry is changing the scale of urbanization. The third section establishes a dialogue with Harvey’s ideas on the three circuits of capital to discuss how the IT industry is steering capital investments and policy decisions. The paper concludes with an assessment of the application of the industrial city model to Bangalore.


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