Articles

How can traditional livelihoods find a place in contemporary conservation politics debates in India? Understanding community perspectives in Sundarban, West Bengal

Authors: Amrita Sen (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India) , Sarmistha Pattanaik (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India)

  • How can traditional livelihoods find a place in contemporary conservation politics debates in India? Understanding community perspectives in Sundarban, West Bengal

    Articles

    How can traditional livelihoods find a place in contemporary conservation politics debates in India? Understanding community perspectives in Sundarban, West Bengal

    Authors: ,

Abstract

We document the economic and socio-cultural vulnerability of a forest-dependent community inhabiting the forest fringe island of Satjelia in the Indian Sundarban. Using simple artisanal methods, they have practiced traditional livelihoods like fishing and collecting wild honey from the forests for more than a century. Despite having established cultural integrity and traditional occupations, this group is not indigenous, and are therefore treated as 'others' and 'settlers.' An ethnographic study describes these various forms of livelihoods and the ways that threatens local subsistence. We also document the bureaucratic and hierarchical structure of protected area (PA) management, showing it has little or no accommodation of this community's local traditional knowledge. Finally, we ask whether there is any scope for integrating 'non-indigenous' environmental knowledge, for a more egalitarian transformation of socio ecological relations within these communities.

Keywords: Conservation, conflict, indigenous, political ecology, Sundarban, traditional livelihoods

How to Cite:

Sen, A. & Pattanaik, S., (2017) “How can traditional livelihoods find a place in contemporary conservation politics debates in India? Understanding community perspectives in Sundarban, West Bengal”, Journal of Political Ecology 24(1), p.861-880. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/v24i1.20971

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Published on
26 Sep 2017
Peer Reviewed