Dispossession and Resistance in India: The River and the Rage

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Routledge, Apr 5, 2010 - Political Science - 256 pages

This book deals with the controversies on developmental aspects of large dams, with a particular focus on the Narmada Valley projects in India. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and research, the author draws on Marxist theory to craft a detailed analysis of how local demands for resettlement and rehabilitation were transformed into a radical anti-dam campaign linked to national and transnational movement networks.

The book explains the Narmada conflict and addresses how the building of the anti-dam campaign was animated by processes of collective learning, how activists extended the spatial scope of their struggle by building networks of solidarity with transnational advocacy groups, and how it is embedded in and shaped by a wider field of force of capitalist development at national and transnational scales. The analysis emphasizes how the Narmada dam project is related to national and global processes of capitalist development, and relates the Narmada Valley movement to contemporary popular struggles against dispossession in India and beyond.

Conclusions drawn from the resistance to the Narmada dams can be applied to social movements in other parts of the Global South, where people are struggling against dispossession in a context of neoliberal restructuring. As such, this book will have relevance for people with an interest in South Asian studies, Indian politics and Development Studies.



Acknowledgements xi
Accumulation by dispossession in the Narmada
The emergence of
Militant particularist struggles
The formation of the antidam campaign 93
The trajectory of the antidam campaign 1990
The international Narmada campaign and the independent
The limits of jury politics and the political economy of the state 142
Alternative development as a social
Whither the rage? Learning from the Narmada Valley movement
Notes 203
Index 226

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About the author (2010)

Alf Gunvald Nilsen is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Bergen, Norway. His research interests cover social movement theory and research, critical development research, and Marxist approaches to the political economy of capitalist development – all with special reference to India and South Asia.

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