This week, Economic & Political Weekly publishes the first thorough empirical application of my namematching algorithm: an exploration of the spatial variation of the "Muslim vote" in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 general elections, which I have written with Raheel Dhattiwala (from the University of South Australia, and formerly Oxford), following up on Raheel's considerable research on Gujarat and my own earlier work on elections in UP. A postprint of our article is archived HERE, with the original version on the journal website:

Raphael Susewind, & Raheel Dhattiwala (2014). Spatial Variation in the 'Muslim Vote' in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014 Economic & Political Weekly, 49 (39), 99-110

This is a preprint of a review whose final and definite form has been published in Contemporary South Asia © Taylor & Francis; see publisher's version and entry in my publication list. The book itself is here

Islamic reform in South Asia, edited by Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, xxviii + 509 pp., ISBN 978-11-0703-175-3

The following book review first appeared in ASIEN / The German Journal on Contemporary Asia 131 (see entry in my publication list) and is reprinted here with permission. The book itself is here.

K. Hackenbroch: The Spatiality of Livelihoods. Negotiations of Access to Public Space in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2013, 396 S., EUR 56,00

Through a mixed-method study of spatial claim-making in two low-income neighbourhoods in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Kirsten Hackenbroch unveils the thoroughly political nature of everyday life. The key contribution of her ethnography is to highlight "informality from above", that is the deep implication of the state in what many geographers and urban planners continue to discuss as a depoliticized, "informal" process of urban growth. This insight gains considerable weight from painstaking and thorough long-term fieldwork; "The spatiality of livelihoods" thus also stands as an example of what can be gained from this increasingly unpopular endeavour.

India's general elections are coming up, and many data folks are looking forward to analyze and map results spatially (assuming, as I also argued last time, that all politics are local). Until very recently, only few could do this, however, because the basic prerequisite - GIS shapefiles of India's post-delimitation constituencies and polling station localities - were only available commercially (and could easily cost several thousand US dollars). Today, I wish to present a set of draft shapefiles comprising current polling booth localities, assembly constituencies and parliamentary constituencies under an open license, shared in the hope that they enable more visualizations and better spatial analyses of the ongoing elections.

Unlike the only other set of openly licensed shapefiles I am aware of - the handcrafted parliamentary constituency shapefiles recently published by DataMeet after their Bangalore hackathon (which does not yet contain assembly constituencies or polling station localities) - I chose an automated, algorithm-driven approach, working off draft polling station locality data published online by the Election Commission. I processed this data in multiple steps to derive assembly and later parliamentary constituency shapefiles:

Last week at the AAS in Philly, I had an interesting discussion of votebank politics in India and the importance of spatial variation. My contention was that most politics are local, and that electoral dynamics such as Muslim votebanks (i.e. Muslims voting for certain parties) and the extent of ethnic coordination (i.e. Muslims voting for Muslim candidates) depend on largely local factors. Some people disagreed, many agreed - but it remained a gut feeling. Until, on the flight back, I got an idea how to prove my point. This brief post thus explains at which level votebanks form and operate in India (well, in one instance at least)...