Edited by Hein-Anton van der Heijden
Chapter 24: Social movements in India
India has a rich history of organized and spontaneous social activism from across the political-ideological spectrum. Social movement scholarship, however, has been relatively slow to acknowledge these political and social formations and to develop knowledge of and for social movements. The dominant scholarship on the subject has been the province of historians, sociologists, and, until more recently, political scientists. Of late it has also become the province of the relatively nascent fields of political sociology/ anthropology/ecology; development studies; environmental studies; Dalit (caste) and women’s/gender studies; and critical adult/popular education, with the latter more evident in materials produced by people’s movements and NGOs. Academic, as in the case of the widely acknowledged Economic and Political Weekly, and popular journalism have been more diligent about consistent reporting and analysis on the social movement front. Websites dedicated to specific movements or movement sectors, such as the National Alliance of People’s Movements India; Mines, Minerals and People India; Mining Zone Peoples’ Solidarity Group and Sanhati; and the Lokayan Bulletin are rich sources of information and political analysis pertaining to contemporary social movements in India. A cartography of the scholarship to date suggests a cacophony of case and empirical studies littering the social movement academic landscape, along with rich discussion and clarification around movement typologies and taxonomies and intra-movement micro-characteristics of one variety or another (M.S.A. Rao  2006; G. Shah  2004; Oommen  2010).
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