The “shady” sides of hierarchy

After giving a preliminary report in my last blogpost  about my fieldwork in Dhaka, I would like to provide, herewith, an impression of my findings after my fieldwork is finished. Slums are characterized by informality and mostly people regard them as self-organised. And having a look at the initial phases of squatter communities, rightly so. Occupying vacant land, staking their claims and providing the most basic services is organised by the occupants themselves and usually does not follow a greater plan. Even though, it is evident in slums, in my eyes literature about this type of settlement is too obsessed with self-organisation, leaving out issues of hierarchy. My hypothesis is that hierarchy plays a crucial role during a slum’s development.  certain formerly self-organised things are hierarchically made more effective, and hierarchy gets important when there are attempts to build up certain degrees of resilience.