My research and teaching interests lie in urban processes and politics, particularly in South Asia. In my primary research project, I examine how contemporary urban development interacts with historical structures of patronage-based state society relations in Chennai, India. I use ethnographic and archival methods to investigate how residents negotiate with local politicians, bureaucrats, and activists to preserve citizenship in urban landscapes marked by violent, large-scale slum evictions.
I have also worked as a housing rights activist in Chennai for over eight years. A new collaborative project aims to narrate the history of the city through the personal and professional histories of my colleagues in Pennurimai Iyakkam (“Women’s Rights Movement”), a 40-year old slumdweller rights organization.
Narayan, P., 2020. A Privilege for All Times. Gastronomica, 20(3), pp.60-61.
Narayan, P., 2018. The informal local: A multi-scalar approach to examining participation in urban renewal. In Urban Renewal, Community and Participation: Theory, Policy and Practice, Eds. J. Clark and N. Wise. Springer (The Urban Book Series), pp. 199-217
Narayan, P., 2017. Displacement as disaster relief: Environmental gentrification and state informality in developing Chennai. In Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification, Eds. W. Curran and T. Hamilton.
Narayan, P., 2015. Patterns in arbitrariness: Resettlement experiences of the unrecognized urban poor in Chennai. In Development-Induced Displacement and Resettlement: New perspectives on persisting problems, Eds. I. Satiroglu and N. Choi. Routledge, pp. 170-183.
Raman, N. and Narayan, P., 2013. Access to finance for incremental construction: A study from three low-income settlements in Chennai. State of the Urban Poor Report 2013. Oxford University Press.