Beyond Belonging: Emotions in the Social Movements Resisting Against the Hydropower Dams in Contemporary India

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 14:30
Oral Presentation
Shruti VISPUTE, University of Coventry, United Kingdom
This paper explores repression in the context of hydropower ‘development’ projects especially where space for dissent is very less for the ‘affected’ marginalised communities. The paper investigates a local Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) movement against hydropower dams on Teesta river, in Dzongu region of Sikkim state in India. The paper considers that emotions are produced in relations between and among people and environments and across a range of spatial scales and contexts. The paper discusses range of questions to understand the affects and effects of emotions, such as,

How spatial processes across variety of scales as well as at specific places and the relationships between the dominating power and marginalised groups, influence the emergence and expressions of various emotions.

How activist in ACT have responded [emotionally] to the hegemonic policies of the state in the case of hydropower projects?

How these emotions are related to the specific space, strategies and tactics of social movements? How these strategies enable the members of social movements to deploy various emotions such as anger, outrage, fear, insecurity, love and affection for their specific place?

The paper argues that the place-based social movement members have emotions in which the sense of agency is ‘beyond belonging’. And in the current scholarly understanding of emotions in social movements, there is a need of a strong emphasis on understanding of spatiality of emotions – emotions associated with the sacred land, affiliated to the river, for the culture that is shaped up because of a river, which is threatened by the neoliberal accumulation today.