Perceptions of Climate Change from North India: An Ethnographic Account explores local perceptions of climate change through ethnographic encounters with the men and women who live at the front line of climate change in the lower Himalayas.
From data collected over the course of a year in a small village in an eco-sensitive zone in North India, this book presents an ethnographic account of local responses to climate change, resource management and indigenous environmental knowledge. Aase Kvanneid’s observations cast light on the precarious reality of climate change in this region and bring to the fore issues such as access to water, NGO intervention and climate information for farmers. In doing so, she also explores classic topics in the study of rural India including ritual, gender, social hierarchy and political economy. Overall, this book shows how the cause and effect of climate change is perceived by those who have the most to lose and explores how the impact of climate change is being dealt with on a local and global scale.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of the anthropology of climate change, environmental sociology and rural development.
Table of Contents
Climate Change in India
A Scientifically Social Climate Change
Writing Climate Change
A Note on Methodology
A Choice of Words and How They Flow
Chapter 1: Climate Change Expressions
Social Principles of Differentiation in Rani Mājri
Class in Rani Mājri
Caste in Rani Mājri
Gender in Rani Mājri
Chapter 2: Waterworn
Becoming Rani Mājri: A Kuhl Story
Time Beyond Living Memory
Contemporary Rani Mājri
Chapter 3: Governing Awareness
On Global-Local Gaps and Frictions
Junction 1: Governing Bodies
Junction 2: Governing Forest
Junction 3: Governing Soil and Water
A History of Management
Chapter 4: Divine Jurisdictions
Deciduous Land Management
Negotiating Village Territories
Chapter 5 Climate Identities
Being Climate Change Aware
Life in the "Greenery"
Deprived of Science, Bestowed with Eco-Sensitivity?
Climate Change as a Discourse
Chapter 6: A Dance of Global Warming
Environmental Retribution for the ‘Wrong’ Progress
On Reductionism and Disempowerment
Aase J. Kvanneid is an anthropologist currently working as an associate professor of Global Development Studies at the University of Agder and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Oslo. Her main areas of research are the societal aspects of environmental and climate change, and she is currently researching the empirical embeddedness of sustainability and transcendental visions in Asia.
''In this sensitive, intimate ethnography, Aase J. Kvanneid approaches the compelling immediacy of global climate change from multiple perspectives gathered during fieldwork in a Himalayan foothill village. Her book illuminates diverse ways that local traditions and interpretations interact with outside expertise as human beings confront planetary crisis.''
~ Ann Grodzins Gold, Emerita Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Professor of Anthropology, Syracuse University.
"India’s fundamental problem with climate change is also the world’s fundamental problem. Research tends to relegate the ordinary man and woman to a reductionist oblivion in which they become hapless victims, unable to see the larger picture or be agents of their own destiny. Kvanneid’s study helps us rethink this image, and this volume constitutes an important contribution to our collective conversation".
~ Arild Engelsen Ruud, Professor of South Asia Studies and Head of Research at the South Asia Department at the University of Oslo.
"In this probing work, Aase J. Kvanneid offers a compelling and richly textured ethnography of climate change from a small village in the Shivalik Hills, India. The book powerfully weaves discussions about broader political-economic transformations alongside detailed accounts of people's everyday experience of ecological crisis in this marginalized region of South Asia. The beautiful and moving book provides a subtle and important contribution to the new anthropology of the Anthropocene, and is essential reading for everyone interested in the radical changes posed by the climate crisis in South Asia and beyond"
~ Ursula Münster, Associate Professor and Director, Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, University of Oslo.