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1st Edition

Slow Disaster Political Ecology of Hazards and Everyday Life in the Brahmaputra Valley, Assam

By Mitul Baruah Copyright 2023
    ISBN 9780367509774
    170 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    Published September 9, 2022 by Routledge

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    Original Price $170.00
    Sale Price USD $136.00
    ISBN 9781003051565
    170 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    Published September 8, 2022 by Routledge

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    This book presents a fascinating, ethnographic account of the challenges faced by communities living in Majuli, India, one of the largest river islands in the world, which has experienced immense socio-environmental transformations over the years, processes that are emblematic of the Brahmaputra Valley as a whole.

    Written in an engaging style, full of the author's insider perspectives, this insightful volume explores the processes of flooding and riverbank erosion in Majuli, including re-configuration of the island’s geographies, loss of local livelihoods, and large-scale displacement of the population. The book begins with an examination of the physical geography of Majuli and its ecological complexities, leading to discussion on the role of the state in water governance and hazard management, as well as popular resistance by the rural communities on the island. The book focuses on livelihoods as a way of offering economic context to living in challenging environmental conditions and examines the interactions between the state and a whole host of non-state actors, and the everyday, arbitrary functioning of the bureaucracy in a hazardscape.

    This volume is an invaluable resource for scholars interested in political ecology of hazards and vulnerability, water and hydraulic infrastructure, rural livelihoods and agrarian questions, state theorizations, island studies, and resistance and social movements, as well as those with an interest in northeast India more generally across various disciplines.

    List of figures

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    List of abbreviations

    1. Introduction
    2. The Making and Unmaking of Majuli
    3. The Disastrous State
    4. Livelihoods, Ruined
    5. The Unquiet Island
    6. Afterword: Between Despair and Hope



    Mitul Baruah is an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University, India. His research interests include political ecology, water governance, hazards and disasters, environmental justice, agrarian studies, and island studies. He also possesses years of grassroots experience in environmental conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and community mobilization in rural India.

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