ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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John Locke and the Governance of India's Landscape: The Category of Wasteland in Colonial Revenue and Forest Legislation

The influence of John Locke's theory of property on the policies governing India's landscape is examined in this paper. Locke's concept of wasteland, as opposed to value-producing land, constituted a founding binary opposition that constructed how landscapes were categorised. The period under study covers the Permanent Settlement (1793), the Ryotwari Settlement of Bombay, and the India Forest Acts (1865 and 1878). It is shown as to how the categories of waste and productive land were applied to groups supposedly attached to different landscapes, i e, "tribes" and "castes". Associated with wildness, wilderness, and savagery in the 19th century, the category of wasteland also defined who would and who would not become most vulnerable to dispossession and/or enclosure.

Revanchism in Mumbai? Political Economy of Rent Gaps and Urban Restructuring in a Global City

The political economy of rent gaps emerging from the "highest and best use" of land in Mumbai has led to a spatial restructuring of the city. Manufacturing units are increasingly relocated to the suburbs and the working classes and the poor cleansed from the high-end business and financial districts as the state is increasingly subordinate to the economy in the liberalisation era.

Space, Place and Primitive Accumulation in Narmada Valley and Beyond

A hitherto unnoticed aspect of dam displacement is the way it contributes to processes of global primitive accumulation. Viewed from a wider perspective of neoliberal capitalist expansion, the creation of a global proletariat is facilitated by the dismantling of customary relations to land, forest and water. The fact that many dams throughout the world are located in territories in which existing populations hold legally tenuous relations to the environment may not be a coincidence. Further, existing laws and planning policies related to dam developments share a worldview that meshes utilitarian logic and legal belief in private property with an abstract concept of space and the environment.

Repopulating the Landscape

This paper recounts the struggle of the Tadvi and Vassawa ethnic groups of Rajpipla against the creation of the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, that forms part of the Sardar Sarovar Dam but which has received far less attention than the dam project itself. The indigenous populations within the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary who have traditionally had access to its resources now regard its construction as a means of curtailing their right of access to forest resources and for appropriating land previously used by them for cultivation. Their struggle in turn, has involved the reconstruction of their environmental and social history that is an attempt to assert the validity of the local sense of place over more abstract conceptions of space, imposed on them from above. Their oral reconstruction of history, kinship and identity is actually a response to the threat of dislocation, in which a concept of space without people has taken precedence over local interactions with, and interpretations of, the environment.
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