Land Use Planning, Dispossession and Contestation in Western India

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Brunei Gallery

About this event

Kenneth Bo Nielsen

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Land Use Planning, Dispossession and Contestation in Western India


Due to the industrial strike action, the talk has been rescheduled to Friday, 6 March 2020 at room BG01.



This presentation attempts a more detailed understanding of the role of planning in India’s neoliberal regime of dispossession, and the intricate but important ways in which planning is used to facilitate land transfers. Towards this end, I analyse the relationship between land use planning and dispossession in the state of Goa. Following Tanya Li, planning processes and documents are seen as inscription devices, and as constitutive parts of state-specific regimes of dispossession that work across scales, paving the way for land dispossession to take place in specific locations. I argue that planning in Goa emerges as a terrain of struggle between a state-capital nexus seeking to dispossess and convert land, and an organized citizenry seeking to use planning for alternative purposes. This dialectic between manipulative planning ‘from above’ and popular mobilisation ‘from below’ is placed at the centre of analysis and used to map the evolution of regional planning in Goa and its consequences for land dispossession and land use. I show how the long-term trend in regional planning across three decades is arguably one in which planning documents function predominantly as inscription devices that facilitate dispossession and the assembling of land for private investments.

Kenneth Bo Nielsen is associate professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo. The presentation is based on a collaborative project with Heather P. Bedi (Dickinson College) and Solano da Silva (BITS Pilani).

Chair: Dr Subir Sinha

The event is free to attend but registration essential. Click here to register.

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Insitute

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4390