DAE | Democracy and Ecology

Course Information

  • 2020-21
  • DAE
  • Master's Programme in Public Policy
  • II
  • Jul 2020
  • Elective Course

The Pandemic has the concerns about climate change have never been greater. The erosion of the buffer between humans and the natural environment leading to the current pandemic highlights the existential nature of the crisis and yet the pace and expanse of ecological footprint of contemporary reforms in India fail to find the centre stage of policy debate. These reforms are based on the dominant development discourse of good governance. This course will examine in depth, through constant reviewof contemporary policies and their origins from an ecological perspective, of how this politics of doing good, while seemingly neutral, is politically charged.

Because of the intrinsic ethical strength of ‘good governance’ and the increasing apparency of climate change, it has kindled the imagination of development theorists, international agencies, policy-makers and NGOs alike. In addition, this discourse appears to seek convergence of the participatory development aspects of the 1980s and rights-based assertions of social movements to strengthen the sense of agency of marginalized communities and influence wider decision-making processes regarding environmental policies.

But there are reasons to suspect that the capacity of the discourse to promote participatory democracy and generate equitable growth and ecological sustainability has been highly inflated. Based on a thorough policy analysis and examination of practicalexperiences, this course encourages students to measure the emancipatory claims of the development paradigm and the type of democracy that it promotes.

Based on a combined methodology of critical ethnography and the anthropology of public policy, this course will capacitate students with knowledge to negotiate through the contemporary hegemonic development discourse and its assertion of good governance, the deepening of democracy and the realization of sustainable ecological goals in India and much of the global South and skill them to articulate alternative policy directions.