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Politics of Institutional Change in India’s Forestland Regimes

Politics of Institutional Change in India’s Forestland Regimes

(p.117) Chapter 5 Politics of Institutional Change in India’s Forestland Regimes
Democracy in the Woods
Prakash Kashwan
Oxford University Press

This chapter employs institutional and political ethnography to analyze the social and political mobilization that led to the enactment of India’s Forest Rights Act (FRA) in 2006. While the political and policy processes were characterized by a variety of confrontations, they were accompanied by concrete engagements between the representatives of the state and society. On the one hand, elite civil society actors, such as members of the Tiger and Wilderness Watch, used familial ties and social networks to gain access to lawmakers to mount a formidable opposition of peasant forest and land rights. On the other hand, radical grassroots groups, which were quite comfortable with the rough-and-tumble of informal politics, capitalized on the sophisticated proceedings of parliamentary institutions to pursue their desired forms of institutional change. Ultimately, deeply entrenched differences of power between national and local actors weakened the newly instituted forestland rights, though the new law created a strong foundation for future political contests.

Keywords:   Forest Rights Act, policy process, environmentalism, political society, mass mobilization, institutional change, institutional reforms, environmental politics, power

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