336 pages, 8 tables
Agrarian Environments questions the dichotomies that have structured earlier analyses of environmental processes in India and offers a new way of looking at the relationship between agrarian transformation and environmental change. The contributors claim that attempts to explain environmental conflicts in terms of the local versus the global, indigenous versus outsiders, women versus men, or the community versus the market or state obscure vital dynamics of mobilisation and organisation that critically influence thought and policy. Editors Arun Agrawal and K. Sivaramakrishnan claim that rural social change in India cannot be understood without exploring how environmental changes articulate major aspects of agrarian transformations - technological, cultural, and political - in the last two centuries. In order to examine these issues, they have reached beyond the confines of single disciplinary allegiances or methodological loyalties to bring together anthropologists, historians, political scientists, geographers, and environmental scientists who are significantly informed by interdisciplinary research. Drawing on extensive field and archival research, the contributors demonstrate the powerful political implications of blurring the boundaries between dichotomous cultural representations, combine conceptual analyses with specific case studies, and look at why competing powers chose to emphasise particular representations of land use or social relations. By providing a more textured analysis of how categories emerge and change, this work offers the possibility of creating crucial alliances across populations that have historically been assumed to lack mutual goals. "Agrarian Environments" will be valuable to those in political science, Asian studies, and environmental studies.
This volume brings a remarkable maturity of vision to the study of the environmental history and politics of India. Departing from the tired nature/culture dichotomy, it offers a fresh approach that situates the environment, agriculture, and politics within a single field. With a deft combination of rich empirical material and conceptual sophistication, the contributors treat nature, climate, forests, pasture, irrigation, cultivation, political movements and state policies as aspects of a single reality, and show that their separation is not just a scholarly misconception but an artifice of colonial and postcolonial history. Our understanding of the politics of Indian environment and the academic field of environmental studies will never be the same after Agrarian Environments. - Gyan Prakash, Princeton University " Agrarian Environments is a volume of historically and empirically informed essays that represents a new generation of scholarship that promises to reshape the fields of agrarian and environmental studies. By confronting some of the received wisdoms that have separated the study of agriculture from that of the environment, this book opens up a whole range of new and refreshing questions that will be of relevance to scholars and policy makers in all parts of the world." - Akhil Gupta, author of Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India
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