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Link Work

Ian M. Cook

Journal of South Asian Development, 2015, vol. 10, issue 3, 292-317

Abstract: In Mangaluru, a smaller rapidly urbanizing coastal city in southwest India, there is a broker on every street. They are skilled, reputation conscious figures, who interpret class, jati , age and gender characteristics into housing and land markets through their mediations. Their work is above all ‘link work’: the forming, maintaining and breaking of links between parties. I argue that links are a form of property. With the city’s changes over the last decades—including partially redistributive land reforms, industrialization, the opening of an all-weather port, a squeeze on land, a real estate ‘boom’ and the arrival of large numbers of out of town college students—the number of potential links has increased and diversified. The links’ sizeable and growing monetary value, the large numbers of brokers or potential brokers, and the temporal incongruities between buyers/tenants and sellers/landlords push brokers to continually search out new links and to move quickly in closing or dropping deals, thus driving the commodification of land and housing in the city.

Keywords: Brokers; intermediaries; property; urban; Mangalore (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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