Social movements and articulation of alternatives to development

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 11 August 2022


Acton Theatre and Zoom


Dr. Souvik Lal Chakraborty

Please join us for an upcoming RE&D Research Notes hybrid seminar (Acton Theatre or zoom). Dr. Souvik Lal Chakraborty will present his research insights on social movements and articulation of alternatives to development. The seminar will be facilitated by Dr Rini Astuti.

The anti-mining movement in the Niyamgiri Mountains in Odisha, India, is led by the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (Organisation to save Niyamgiri). It has lasted two decades and has often caught national and international attention. In 2013, the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti attained a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court of India, which provided Gram Sabhas (village councils) the power and authority to decide on the future of mining in Niyamgiri. Even though the villages in Niyamgiri have unanimously voted against the decision of mining the mountains, the social movement goes on and has continued to evolve.

Though the movement is mainly led by the people of the affected marginalised communities, it has also received significant support from several other activists, including popular intellectuals. Building on the theoretical approach of framing in social movements, this presentation focuses on how popular intellectuals have framed the movement after the historical verdict of the Supreme Court of India in 2013 and explores the impact of the framing on the evolution of the movement and its effects. To understand and unravel the complexities of this social movement, Souvik’s analysis builds upon geographical and political ontology literature to unpack the spatial processes of “framing the pluriverse.” This presentation will also provide an account of the struggles of the Dongria Kondh by bringing their perception of development and well-being to the forefront of discussion, analysing whether their visions of alternative development (as underpinned by pluriversal relations) are articulated in the collective action framing of the movement.

Provocations: 1. Will it be ever possible to align the developmental policies of the state with the relational ontologies of the indigenous communities? 2. What is the importance of prefigurative politics in social movement framing?

Speaker biography Dr. Souvik Lal Chakraborty is currently working as a Lecturer in the Department of Human Geography at Monash University. For the past decade, Souvik has worked as a student, researcher and an educator in India, Germany and Australia. After completing his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Jadavpur University, India, Souvik was selected as a Young India Fellow where he received the Uday Shankar Scholarship to complete a one-year post-graduate diploma programme in liberal arts. Souvik made his way to Australia after completing his Master’s in Democratic Governance and Civil Society from the University of Osnabrück as a DAAD Public Policy and Good Governance Scholar. Souvik’s research and teaching focus on studies of nature-society relationships. More specifically his research interests include studies of politics of mining and resource extraction, intersections between indigenous geographies and political ecology, contentious politics, and critical development studies. His doctoral thesis provides an in-depth analysis of an indigenous social movement in India with specific focus on the eastern state of Odisha. This research also analyses the developmental pathway India is currently following and how it is affecting the cultural identity of the marginalised and the tribal communities in the country.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 823 9140 3556 Password: 933933

Updated:  9 August 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team