1st Edition

Environment, Knowledge and Gender Local Development in India’s Jharkhand

By Sarah Jewitt Copyright 2002
    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    382 Pages
    by Routledge

    This title was first published in 2002: Tracing global shifts in development thinking through to national-level policy making in India and its local-scale implications, Sarah Jewitt investigates the practical value of radical populist and eco-feminist alternatives to more mainstream forms of development. Using detailed empirical data on forests and agriculture from two adivasi (tribal) villages in India, she takes a micro-political ecology approach to examine inter- and intra-community (especially gender) variations in environmental knowledge, resource management strategies and development aspirations. Critiquing the adoption of romanticized eco-feminist discourse in policymaking, Jewitt studies the Jharkhand region of Bihar, India, to determine women’s contribution to environmental degradation and how the implementation of environmentally-oriented development initiatives affects their daily lives. She also examines the populist concern about the displacement of traditional agro-ecological practices by modern techniques, and illustrates the need to understand local people’s socio-cultural beliefs and aspirations as well as their technical knowledge when seeking to promote more appropriate development.

    Introduction; Changing ideologies in development thinking: the shift to a more appropriate approach; The adoption of gender issues into development and environmental policy making; Environmental management and forest policy in India; Gender and environmentally-oriented development in India; Introduction to Jharkhand and fieldwork methodologies; Introduction to the fieldwork villages; Technical and socio-cultural systems of agro-ecological knowledge in Jharkhand; Gender and agriculture in the research area; Forest use and management in the research area; Autonomous and joint forest management in Jharkhand; Gender, silvicultural knowledge and forest management; Conclusions; Bibliography; Appendices.


    Sarah Jewitt, School of Geography, The University of Nottingham, UK

    ’An important work which uses patient fieldwork to establish the variegated nature of institutional ecologies in Jharkhand and which robustly challenges the more reductive approaches of rural populism and ecofeminism.’ Stuart Corbridge, Professor of Geography, LSE, UK and Professor of International Studies, University of Miami, USA ’Women’s role in nurturing local knowledge about farming and forests and the connections between traditional and modern technology, have both become crucial themes in studies of development and globalization.  What Sarah Jewitt does in this path breaking study is to put flesh on to the bones of this debate. In so doing she dispels much of the myth and sentimentality which has clouded our academic views about gender and the environment.’ Tim Bayliss-Smith, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge, U.K ’Sarah Jewitt has usefully brought experiences from...different research fields into correspondence with development research in her book...Environment, Knowledge and Gender is a strong argument against not only eco-feminism but against all analyses that tend to romanticise tribal people in the forests as noble and eco-friendly, gender-balanced savages...the book is an important contribution to debates on local development in resource-poor forest regions.’ Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Human Geography ’...interesting in its own right...but far more significant in its attempt to explode the myth of ecofeminist and populist models of development...In my opinion she has succeeded in showing that the ecofeminist, populist approach is romanticized and undifferentiated...’ Ecotheology