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

Articles By Political Ecology

Cultural Ecologies of Urban Lakes

The Bathukamma festival, historically observed by Telangana-based Other Backward Classes and Dalit communities with traditional connections to waterbodies, has since 2014 become a state festival and a platform for political claim-making. This state-making project has had ripple effects revealing the everyday entanglements of caste associations, urban state–citizen relations, and the political ecology of urban waterbodies, in the capital city of Hyderabad. The paper sheds light on how competition between different caste groups, with distinct cultural ecological claims, shapes urban political ecologies. Urban communities mobilise narrowly defined caste associations to strategically make claims to place, and lobby for resources and recognition. Such claim-making exists even in slum settlements consisting of new migrant communities. We argue that attempts to gain recognition of caste-based claims for water-linked resources are an indirect articulation of belonging and connection to the state and the city.

The Alienation and Commodification of Nature: Fighting the Fallacious Fetishism of Contemporary Frameworks through a Revolutionary Transition

With the frantically incessant economic production activity that apparently projects no end, the human-nature relationship seems to have come full circle. As man agonises being manacled by natural constraints, in the form of planetary ecological crises, he stands to be the alleged culprit. For analytical coherence, this paper is divided into four sections. The first section elucidates, through a Marxist perspective of ecology, how the unheeded capitalistic socio-economic course of human action has engendered the alienation of nature itself, which in turn is posing fatal afflictions, conspicuous through compelling phenomena like climate change. Following it is a discussion on the repercussions of commodification of nature. The third section brings out the dichotomous reasoning evident in redundant environmental policy frameworks and paradigms in India. Accentuating the dialectical relationship between sociology and ecology, it explicates, in advocacy for the contemporary “have-nots,” the need to constantly heed the multidimensionality of sustainability, also discernible in the Sustainable Development Goals. On these lines, finally, the course of a “revolutionary transition,” to reinstate a progressive human-nature nexus, is expounded. As a way forward, the paper suggests eschewing the repudiation and outright denial of the prevailing ‘problem of production’ and the need for a sagacious dialogue, in order to mount radical action in response to the looming environmental threats.