The Political Construction of Wasteland: Governmentality, Land Acquisition and Social Inequality in South India

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Through a micro-level study of a biofuel-related land acquisition in rural Tamil Nadu, India, this article reveals how state-subject relations are shaping modern land deal politics. Through its political construction of the concept of 'wasteland' and its associated wasteland development programme, the Indian state has facilitated a series of questionable land acquisitions, reshaping agrarian livelihoods in the process. A class of land brokers has emerged to help carry out the state's project of converting 'wastelands' to more 'productive', state-defined uses such as biofuel cultivation and industrial expansion. Those whose lands have been acquired as part of these programmes have undergone a transition to wage labour, increasing the prolitarianization of agrarian communities. By documenting the mechanics of this 'wasteland governmentality', this study contributes to a political sociology of the state by unpacking the linkages between the state and agrarian subjects in the context of the 'global land grab'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-428
Number of pages20
JournalDevelopment and Change
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Political Construction of Wasteland: Governmentality, Land Acquisition and Social Inequality in South India'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this