Research Seminar Series - focus on India and Bhutan

July 04, 2018
03:00 PM - 04:15 PM
UVic Sedgewick Building, Room C168

1. Inhabitations of Violence: The Local and the Global Political Economy of Urban Delhi

Sushmita PatiThis paper is premised on the entity of ‘urban villages’ in South Delhi which were slowly engulfed into the city as the city started expanding into the erstwhile villages in the 1950s and 1960s. Massive swathes of land were acquired for urban development which was mostly agricultural land of these villagers to create what we today understand as South Delhi, leaving only the residential parts of the village, referred to as ‘urban villages’. The village land which is communally owned, enters the fray of land speculation by the 1990s and becomes the site of organised land grabbing by the dominant community (Jats) of the village.  In the age of flexible mode of production, these villages have emerged as spaces for manufacture and also spaces for residence for cheap, precariate urban labour. These villages, as having been exempted from building regulations, have been able to come up as these ‘irregular’ spaces which exist alongside the global city and strike their own relationship with it.  This paper looks at the rise of Jat community as entrepreneurs, speculators on the basis of their caste domination. I argue that their kinship networks begin to function like cartels or joint stock companies in order to maintain their dominance over the rent market.

This paper will focus on these urban villages and try to trace the networks of this local economy with the global one, in the times of financialisation. Rent which is based on ownership allows for kinship networks consolidating themselves by means of perpetuating fear amongst the lower middle class tenants and labourers living there. It builds on how this fear and violence become the premise of accumulation within these urban spaces which allows them to generate economic rent and thereby create inroads into the global forms of capital. This paper will therefore see how fear and violence becomes the factor that allows these local, postcolonial forms of capitalisms to function in conjunction with global forms of capitalism.

About the presenter

Sushmita Pati is currently teaching at the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University, Bangalore as Assistant Professor. She finished her doctoral degree from Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her work falls in the larger domain of urban politics but she draws from methods and debates across disciplines like anthropology, political economy, history and law. She is currently visiting UVic as a “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholar” as part of CAPI’s “Regulating globalization in South and Southeast Asia” project. 

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2. Green Consumption: The role of Life Events and Communities of Trust

Sunayana GangulyThis study challenges the notion of an isolated consumer and atomised life events as point of transition in consumption practices. Instead it nuances and contextualises sustainable consumption among the new middle classes in Bengaluru, identifying life events as an important moment of evaluation for consumers, which are encouraged, nurtured and fortified by communities of trust. In the absence of trust in state regulation, consumers take important cues from the communities that they are embedded in. Communities then become influential points of intervention that can inspire change and encourage continuity in sustainable consumption practices. This empowers consumers, and the communities they are embedded in, to position themselves at the beginning of a consumer-driven or market oriented food supply chain, rather than being situated as an end user. These communities of trust then become a crucial resource that can influence change and augment sustainable consumption practices.

About the presenter

Sunayana Ganguly is currently Assistant Professor at the Azim Premji University in Bangalore. She received her PhD in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin where she was affiliated with the Environmental Policy Research Centre, while working with the German Development Institute in Bonn. She was also previously, a research associate at the Industrial Ecology Group, University of Lausanne (Switzerland), working on the interdisciplinary research project on the dynamics of consumption patterns, practices and policies among new consumers in two megacities of South and South-East Asia. Her first book Deliberating Environment Policy in India - Participation and the role of advocacy was published in 2015 (Routledge). She is currently visiting UVic as a “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholar” as part of CAPI’s “Regulating globalization in South and Southeast Asia” project. 

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3. Why Bhutan needs to adopt enforcement infrastructure to meet its Greenhouse Gas emission goals

Tshering DolkarBhutan gained a lot of international attention during the Paris Agreement when it pledged to remain carbon neutral and when it declared to the world that it is the only carbon negative country in the world. However, despite being a carbon negative country and despite its pledge to remain as carbon neutral, Bhutan is still experiencing an increase in emissions of greenhouse gas at an alarming rate. My paper asserts that Bhutanese Government are not meeting its pledge to remain carbon neutral made during the international climate change treaties. My paper further contends that in order to fulfil the commitments and also the missions it has set for the country, considering the climate change challenges it is facing currently, Bhutan should act now! If the Bhutanese government let the current trend to continue, it is certain that it would not be able to fulfil its commitments made in the international climate change treaties as well as the missions it has set for itself. I conclude my paper by giving suggestions to the Bhutanese Government by claiming that it is necessary for Bhutan to amend its inadequate laws, enacting procedural laws, guidelines for implementation, setting up mandatory National Emission Reporting Requirement for industries, making environmental information and cases available to the public, getting rid of vehicle quota and by levying heavy taxes on the vehicle importing companies.

About the presenter

Tshering Dolkar is a Jr. Lecturer for Environmental Law at Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, Bhutan’s first and only law school. She is currently on a leave to undergo her Masters studies in Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, United States. Her research for her LLM paper is on “Why Bhutan needs to adopt enforcement infrastructure to meet its Greenhouse Gas emission goals?” She received her Post Graduate Diploma in National Law from the Royal Institute of Management, Bhutan in 2016. She also holds Bachelors degree of Law from the University of Kent, UK (2011-2015). She got the privilege to study at University of Kent after receiving the prestigious king’s scholarship from the Fifth King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck because of her outstanding academic achievements during the Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Examination.  She enjoys taking her dogs for evening walks, travelling and her new found hobby is whale watching after her recent trip to Alaska.

Jonathan Woods