The Land Question in India

The course prepares students to employ political-economy– and anthropological perspectives to explain and analyse several topics that they may encounter in their fieldwork such as land acquisition, women’s property rights, Dalit-Adivasi land rights, and the role of middlemen in land deals.

To explain the complexities of land conflicts underway in India and their links with development, students of MA Development will need a firm conceptual grip on what land is. Land has the ability to simultaneously exhibit multiple characteristics – of property, asset, territory, identity, dignity, security, spirituality and memory – when it encounters human agents. Students will also need an in-depth understanding of how land is governed in India, how the messy and labyrinthine land titles work in the country, how land gets entangled with the intersectional identities of gender, class, caste, religion, indigeneity and race, and how to handle land data. This course aims to fill the need for a course that covers these issues in the MA Development programme. The course will also work in alignment with the programme’s objective of creating reflective practitioners by equipping them with interdisciplinary perspectives from the social sciences’ – in this case the scholarship on land.

In addition, this course will provide students with a tool to unpack the complex theories of the state, commodification, enclosure and agrarian change.