Photo Essay: Body as Infrastructure and Street Vending

By Nehal Thorawade

Pune city has close to 25000 vendors who earn their livelihoods by hawking a variety of products from vegetables and fruits to garments and decorative items. For the vendors, these streets serve as workspaces. The display of articles is also of crucial importance. It determines how many products get sold and at what time of the day. Vendors know how to display their articles to attract customers. There is no need of special training or degree to manage their business. The photos in this essay show how creatively the vendors use their body as infrastructure to sell products. Body as the infrastructure of vendors allows them mobility so they can easily move from one place to another with their articles. However, it also comes with a limitation such as they can only sell a limited stock at one time.

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The summer institute is a full-fledged 3 credits course in the academic calendar of the Masters in Urban Policy and Governance program of the School of Habitat Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. It is conducted as a continuous module of approximately 2 weeks  duration, involving immersion in a community and location. This year’s institute studied the socio-political dynamics of street vending, especially in relation to the recent Street Vending Act (2014) that cited key constitutional provisions in support of street vendors and established guidelines for state governments so that the state can safeguard the vendors’ right to livelihood. In the following month, we will be posting some of the students’ research in the form of blogs, photo essays, narratives, life stories and analytical pieces that describe in great detail the everyday lives of vendors and local street markets. Watch this space for more.

To see institute reports from previous batches visit our website: http://urk.tiss.edu/winter-institute.html

 

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