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As of 2016, 1.6 billion people around the globe lacked proper shelter and of these, one billion lived in informal settlements, also called slums, according to data collected by the United Nations (UN-Habitat 2016). Investigative journalist Katherine Boo spent four years, between 2007 and 2011, interviewing and shadowing the residents of one such slum on the outskirts of Mumbai. Her goal was to draw attention to socio-economic inequality (Boo, 2014 pp. 247-248), but in the course of collecting data about the consequences of poverty and residents’ attempts to rise out of it, she also recorded information about their moral choices, actions and motivations. This paper examines the evidence that Boo provided in her 2014 nonfiction book about this slum, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and codifies the complex moral system of its inhabitants – a morality that puts to shame those from the higher echelons of society who interact with them.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License



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