Analysing the interrelationships between the notions of urban splintering and governance is the goal of this paper through a case study in urban India. Firstly we describe the obstacle race in which each and every poor inhabitant of Mumbai and Hyderabad has to take part in order to get subsidized food rations. The next section explains this situation by the “corruption chain”, from the shop keepers to the civil servants to the hidden brokers. All this works under a politically-based patronage system that shapes what we call “vertical governance.” As a corollary, an important spatial segmentation occurs at every scale, from the nation to the neighbourhood and the household, with evident consequences on people’s mobilisation.
governance, urban splintering, corruption, India, slum, subsidized food distribution