News & Events

Dr. Sushmita Pati Wins the 2023 BISA IPEG Book Prize for her Book “Properties of Rent: Community, Capital and Politics in Globalising Delhi”

November 30, 2023

We congratulate our faculty member Dr. Sushmita Pati for winning the 2023 BISA IPEG book prize for her book Properties of Rent: Community, Capital and Politics in Globalising Delhi”(Cambridge University Press). Her book had been shortlisted among four books (for the best book published in the field of International Political Economy in 2022).

The British International Studies Association (BISA) promotes International Studies through publications, research, academic networks and funding opportunities. IPEG (International Political Economy Group) is one of the principal working groups under the umbrella of BISA, with over 400 members. The main purpose of IPEG is to bring together scholars and students with an interest in IPE.

A statement from the IPEG Book Prize Committee said: “The four books chosen for the 2023 shortlist (published in 2022) speak to some of those most pressing issues in IPE: elite masculinities, illicit financial flows, sovereign indebtedness, and urbanisation. Sushmita Pati’s Properties of Rent stands out for its theoretical sophistication and empirical richness. The book makes a key contribution to discussions of the “global city” through an in-depth study of landowning and rent in the Delhi’s urban villages. Drawing on detailed empirical research, Properties of Rent takes the reader on a journey into the localised practices of real estate in these peri-urban areas. As the book makes clear, the insecurity of the urban poor cannot simply be reduced to the totalizing forces of global capital. Instead, local (“vernacular”) economies, with their traditional practices of saving and investing, combine with the destructive forces of global capital accumulation to shape Delhi’s transformation into a global city. This complex but lucid account seamlessly integrates the micro-level, in all its smallness and granularity, with the big picture of global capitalism. It is also a highly intersectional account, one that is attentive to the role of class, caste, gender, ethnicity and religion in the making of the urban political economy.

The book committee would like to congratulate Sushmita Pati on this immensely important work.”

BISA-IPEG 2023 Book Prize Committee Members

Sandy Hager, Chair (City, University of London)
Kate Bedford (University of Birmingham)
Florence Dafe (Technical University of Munich)
Susanne Soederberg (Queen’s University)
Ernesto Vivares (FLACSO, Ecuador)

The other three books that were nominated are:

  • Quentin Bruneau, States and the Masters of Capital: Sovereign Lending, Old and New (Columbia UP)
  • Lynn Horton, Men of Money: Elite Masculinities and the Neoliberal Project (Rowman & Littlefield)
  • Julia Morse, The Bankers’ Blacklist: Unofficial Market Enforcement and the Global Fight against Illicit Financing (Cornell UP)

About Sushmita’s book:

We live in cities whose borders have always been subject to expansion. What does such transformation of rural spaces mean for cities and vice-versa? This book looks at the spatial transformation of villages brought into the Delhi’s urban fray in the 1950s. As these villages transform physically; their residents, an agrarian-pastoralist community – the Jats – also transform into dabblers in real estate. A study of two villages – Munirka and Shahpur Jat – both in the heart of bustling urban economies of Delhi, reveal that it is ‘rent’ that could define this suburbanisation. ‘Bhaichara’, once a form of land ownership in colonial times, transforms into an affective claim of belonging, and managing urban property in the face of a steady onslaught from the ‘city’. Properties of Rent is a study of how vernacular form of capitalism and its various affects shape up in opposition to both state, finance capital and the city in contemporary urban Delhi.

To know more about her book, watch the interview with Dr. Sushmita at the time of the book release: