SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Climate Change and the Green Economy: The Manufacture of Consent

Deepa Joshi
Deepa Joshi

Date: 12 March 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 12 March 2020Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B103

Type of Event: Seminar


Mitigating climate change is often framed as the ultimate collective action problem of this era and great emphasis is made on the need for approaches that foster ‘cooperation’ and ‘consensus’. This paper argues that the irony of this rhetoric could not be more stark; climate policy framing is an exclusionary process, and climate mitigating interventions that are engineered essentially to address neoliberal economic concerns rather than environmental challenges are often the source of multiple new conflicts. In this regard, this paper shows how the response of local non governmental organisations (NGOs) to hydropower development in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal in the Eastern Himalayas bears evidence to Gramscian analyses of ‘the manufacture of consent’ between elite bourgeois actors – the state, formal civil society, political parties and the private sector. Such ‘associational’ unions are only occasionally interrupted, as in the case of the people’s movement, Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) in North Sikkim. Finding a balance between resistance and enabling political space to think and act differently, the movement led to the cancellation of several hydropower projects put forward in the name of climate mitigation, and in the process, drew attention to political processes involved in the manufacture of consent. Using case studies from the Darjeeling and Sikkim regions, this paper distinguishes between Gramsci’s vision of the political space of disruption vis-à-vis the covert agenda of climate consensus.


Deepa Joshi is a feminist political ecologist whose work analyses shifts in environmental policies and how these restructure contextually complex intersections of gender, poverty, class, ethnicity and identity. She has worked primarily in South Asia as well as in South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America focusing on the incongruence of water supply/ sanitation, irrigation and water-energy policies with complex ground realities. Her published findings present ethnographic analyses of how the complexity of inequity is reiterated across institutions in the rules and processes of policy-making; in policies per se and in implementing institutions at scale. Deepa's interests lie in translating policy research outcomes and experience into gender and environment academic courses and local research and activist capacity initiatives. She has been leading these activities on several bilateral projects in South and South East Asia and Africa and she currently coordinates two longitudinal projects on the themes of environmental justice and climate change in the Eastern Himalayas and in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (India, Bangladesh and Nepal).

Chair: Kanika Sharma.

Organiser: SOAS South Asia Institute and Centre of Law, Environment and Development

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