Accepted Paper:

Governing the conflicted commons: Democracy in the Indian tribal belt  

Author:

Siddharth Sareen (University of Stavanger)

Paper short abstract:

How can democracy be inclusive of concerns of indigenes and the environment in resource-rich but poverty-stricken central eastern India? Impacts of resource expropriation and processes of exclusion on tribes, and institutional changes required for democratic resource governance, are addressed.

Paper long abstract:

How can democracy be inclusive of concerns of indigenous communities and the environment in resource-rich but poverty-stricken central eastern India? This paper addresses:

a) Indigenous communities' concepts of resources, and the impact that expropriating them of these resources for mining has on their worldviews and interactions with natural systems;

b) How processes of exclusion and decentralisation reforms impact a specific tribe, through a case study on displacement and migration; and

c) Changes in structure and process required for democratic resource governance by state and other institutional actors, in this conflict zone of mining, political, ethnic and cultural interests.

The focus is on three interlinked questions that build on existing knowledge within this theme:

• Structural contexts: How do adivasis view natural systems traditionally used as commons, and what is the impact of decentralization reforms on their ways of life, within a conflict zone?

• Conflicting meanings: What does democracy mean to adivasis, and how can it systemically include their concerns, despite incentives for the state and private sector to exploit resources?

• Legitimacy and compliance: How do the causes and the fact of migration impact adivasi worldviews, for migrants and the adivasi communities that remain in their original habitations?

Panel P50
Narratives of coping with marginalization: impact of state policies on natural resources and tribal lives