On the fringes: urban living among squatters of Serajganj town in Bangladesh

Z. Hossain, J. L. Roopnarine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Population displacement due to riverbank erosion is a severe problem in Bangladesh. Many displacees migrate to urban centers to find shelter and employment. This paper examines the land occupancy patterns, socio-economic status, and social contacts among squatters who have been displaced by riverbank erosion and are currently residing in Serajganj township in Bangladesh. Two hundred and seven households were selected at random from three major squatter concentrations in the town. A questionnaire survey was administered in 1985 to collect data. Interviews of the families indicate that they were living on the fringes of everyday life of Serajganj township. An overwhelming majority live on unused government land and are at risk for eviction. The local administration views their presence as temporary. They are the source of cheap labour in the town and have little contact with their rural relatives. Discriminatory practices, economic hardship, and reciprocity networks among squatters largely influence the status of their social integration into mainstream urban living. In view of these conditions, some policy measures are discussed. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-65
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Urban Studies


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