Frontlines of Value

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Building a ‘classed’ city? Frontlines of informality, migration and urbanisation in Nepal’s construction industry


The project examines how capitalist expansion in urban peripheries of global accumulation exacerbates regional class dynamics. It takes Kathmandu—a rapidly urbanising composite for flows of labour and value creation—as its centre of analysis, and the construction industry as its problematic—reflecting the steep rises in real estate prices despite a devastating earthquake in 2015. Utilising the theoretical frames of commodification and class, the project investigates intersections between informality, migration and urbanisation in order to probe the power of construction in articulating and expanding capitalist regimes of values. Specifically, the project asks: How does construction accelerate capitalist penetration of global peripheries of accumulation through a selective alliance with existing class relations?

Dan Hirslund is a Researcher in the Frontlines of Value project, University of Bergen. He is a social anthropologist by training with a specialisation in South Asian societies. He conducted his doctoral research among activist of the Maoist movement in 2009, focusing on the post-revolutionary Maoist transition to parliamentary politics. After receiving his degree from the University of Copenhagen, Hirslund was awarded funding for a project on solidarities of labor in the context of capitalist globalisation, still with a focus on Nepal and it’s capital Kathmandu. He is currently expanding his interest to wider questions of capitalist globalisation – including questions of precarity and class politics – while continuing to probe the question of political mobilisations against austerity and neoliberalisation.