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Traders and Tinkers ethnographically explores Delhi’s electronic bazaars and, using examples from similar marketplaces worldwide, presents street-level economies as distinct from capitalism. It argues rather than capitalist structure, bazaars share much more with the commons of everyday life, ethics, extra juridical infrastructure, and waste. By doing so, bazaars emerge as a critical space that can be political by engaging with the ruins and excess of capitalism without partaking in its ruthless extractive logic.
Drawing on historical, anthropological, theoretical literature and field insights, this book reviews the category bazaar from colonial imagery to postcolonial and urban bazaars. It speculates their recent transformations via encounters with e-commerce platforms, mainly focusing on what the gradual disappearance would do to collective urban living and the non-elites that depend on these places for their survival.
Maitrayee Deka is an Assamese-Indian academic and poet at the University of Essex. Her research interests are in social theory, economic sociology and STS. Maitrayee's book, Traders and Tinkers: Bazaars in the Global Economy is out with Stanford University Press. She is finishing her first poetry book Improper Nouns about contemporary feeling of loss that is at once deeply personal and universal. Maitrayee's current research is on the Whitechapel Market in London looking at marketplaces as intellectual places drawing from the literature on public space and autonomist Marxism.
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