Development, Power, and the Environment

Neoliberal Paradox in the Age of Vulnerability

By Md Saidul Islam

© 2013 – Routledge

262 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138952591
pub: 2015-09-08
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Hardback: 9780415540025
pub: 2013-05-07
US Dollars$145.00

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About the Book

Unmasking the neoliberal paradox, this book provides a robust conceptual and theoretical synthesis of development, power and the environment. With seven case studies on global challenges such as under-development, food regime, climate change, dam building, identity politics, and security vulnerability, the book offers a new framework of a "double-risk" society for the Global South.

With apparent ecological and social limits to neoliberal globalization and development, the current levels of consumption are unsustainable, inequitable, and inaccessible to the majority of humans. Power has a great role to play in this global trajectory. Though power is one of most pervasive phenomena of human society, it is probably one of the least understood concepts. The growth of transnational corporations, the dominance of world-wide financial and political institutions, and the extensive influence of media that are nearly monopolized by corporate interests are key factors shaping our global society today. In the growing concentration of power in few hands, what is apparent is a non-apparent nature of power. Understanding the interplay of power in the discourse of development is a crucial matter at a time when our planet is in peril — both environmentally and socially. This book addresses this current crucial need.


"This book has, perhaps for the first time, uncovered — both theoretically and empirically — the critical nexus between development, power and the environment."

- Progress in Development Studies

"…will remain an influential and path-breaking contribution in the areas of international development, political sociology and environmental sociology in the years to come."

- Journal of South Asian Development

"The book brings a unique contribution to the scholarship through its analysis of a wide range of

global issues from climate change to terrorism, through the lens of development, power and


- Journal of International Development

"Overall, the book is very insightful… the book makes at least four central contributions in terms of: unmasking the critical nexus between development, power and the environment; showing development as a ‘project of power’; highlighting global vulnerabilities, global survival, global sustainability and global social justice; and finally, developing a thesis of neoliberal paradox, a new framework of the double-risk society and a new focus on the Global South."

- Md. Delwar H. Mazumder, City University of New York, Progress in Development Studies

"This book offers valuable insights about the intersections of development, power, and environment. It will be especially useful to those researchers in the fields of environment and development. Graduate students in particular will benefit from its broad literature review. It is an excellent book."

- Luiz Barbosa, San Francisco State University, American Journal of Sociology

Table of Contents

Part I: Concepts and Theories 1. Challenges of Our Time: Environmental and Social Vulnerabilities with Quek Ri An 2. Understanding Power in Social Organization 3. Paradigms of Development and Their Power Dynamics 4. Theorizing Nature-Society Relationships 5. Neoliberal Paradox: Connection Through Disconnection Part II: Case Studies 6. Development Dynamics in the Global South: From Colonization to Globalization 7. Green Revolution: Transformation, Optimism and Reality 8. Food and Power: The Mirage of the Food Aid Regime 9. Climate Politics: Power and Development in Mortgaging the Planet 10. Tipaimukh Dam: Triumph of Development over the Environment and Popular Voice 11. Labelling Tribal: State-Power in Forming and Transforming Identities 12. A Neoliberal Knowledge/Power/Security Regime After 9/11: The Case of “Muslim Patient” Part III: Sustainable Earth Amid Vulnerabilities 13. Third World Vulnerabilities: Towards a Double Risk Society 14. Towards a Sustainable Earth?

About the Author

Md Saidul Islam is Assistant Professor in the Division of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Development and Society

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries