Thesis

No Land, No Peace: Dynamics of Violent Conflict and Land Usein Assam.

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Competition over land is at the core of the prolonged political conflicts that mark the recent history of India’s North Eastern region. The rural areas of India’s North East, erstwhile marginal to the ‘modern’ state, are increasingly integrated in a monetized market-oriented economy. Confronting dominant regimes of development, mobility and citizenship, it is imperative to recognize how changing land relations are a main reason for broadening social fissures within and among communities. This volume critically engages with questions such as: How do contestations over the ownership and usage of land challenge customary interpretations of gender? And in what ways can the importance attributed to land, in a symbolical sense, contribute to the redefinition of coordinates of identity, community and belonging? Combining perspectives from political science, social geography, social history, sociology and anthropology, this volume critically engages with received notions of the customary. Presenting case studies by both senior and emerging scholars, it makes mandatory reading for anyone interested in the challenges of governance, citizenship and development faced by the people of India’s North East.
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Competition over land is at the core of the prolonged political conflicts that mark the recent history of India’s North Eastern region. The rural areas of India’s North East, erstwhile marginal to the ‘modern’ state, are increasingly integrated in a monetized market-oriented economy. Confronting dominant regimes of development, mobility and citizenship, it is imperative to recognize how changing land relations are a main reason for broadening social fissures within and among communities. This volume critically engages with questions such as: How do contestations over the ownership and usage of land challenge customary interpretations of gender? And in what ways can the importance attributed to land, in a symbolical sense, contribute to the redefinition of coordinates of identity, community and belonging? Combining perspectives from political science, social geography, social history, sociology and anthropology, this volume critically engages with received notions of the customary. Presenting case studies by both senior and emerging scholars, it makes mandatory reading for anyone interested in the challenges of governance, citizenship and development faced by the people of India’s North East.
Article
Thanks to the neo-liberal economy that has been the official policy in India since July 1991 development-induced displacement is growing in India as a whole as well as in the northeast. The focus on mining and possible 166 dams being planned in the region is bound to displace a much bigger number of people than in the past in the northeast. While it symbolizes globalization, the region witnesses a rise also in the extent of the remaining types of displacement, that is, by conflicts and natural disasters. In fact, because of the overuse of natural and mineral resources after globalization there seems to be a close link between these three types of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Present-day disasters are mostly human-made. The overuse of resources causes competition for what is left of them and it results in more conflicts and IDPs. After a bird’s eye view of the situation in India as a whole, the article shifts its focus to the northeast to discuss various types of IDPs in the region. The backdrop of India Look (Act) East policy is taken to bring newer dimensions.
Chapter
This chapter starts from an ethnographic study of the urban borderland of Goma (Democratic Republic of the Congo)-Gisenyi (Rwanda), and more specifically the border district Birere. This Congolese urban district is situated right upon the border with Rwanda, and it partly occupies the zone neutre or zone tampon, the natural buffer strip that runs along the border separating the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Rwanda. In Birere, the geographic space connecting Goma to Gisenyi, two distinct political, economic and cultural worlds come together. Although they were created almost at the same moment, the evolution of these two cities (and two nations) has followed a different path.
Chapter
Post 9/11, exceptionalism has won popularity to describe the variety of processes resulting from a new security discourse, the war on terror and the treatment of terrorism suspects.1 Indeed, the central case to argue and counterargue the usefulness of the concept of the state of exception is the “modern camp” in Guantanamo Bay.2 Other key cases include the analysis of (illegal) migrants3 and, interrelated, of the securization of border regimes,4 where the discussion on the inside and the outside of the state and the sovereign power seems to be most profound. Little attention has however been awarded to exceptionalism away from this security and terrorism discourse. Moreover, cases are often only used to make a theoretical argument about the state of exception, and the attention to a particular case seems to be little more than a corollary of a theoretical positioning.
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