Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo
This special issue of SAMAJ, composed of six empirical papers and an introduction seeks to throw light on environmental politics in contemporary urban India. Adopting a deliberately broad understanding of the environment, to include environmental amenities, urban natural resources and the built environment, the diverse case studies within this issue contribute to an interlinked set of discussions on the politicization of India’s urban environment. In doing so they engage with the ways that the environment is entwined with questions of urban citizenship; the role environmental knowledge(s) play(s) in urban environmental politics; and the situated character of urban political ecologies. While these papers employ diverse entry points into the environmental politics of Leh, Puri, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi they all pay close attention to everyday practices and situated dynamics. As this perspective is applied across various city sizes the results demonstrate on the one hand the heterogeneity of India’s urban environments and on the other the pervasiveness of similar environmental politics across diverse sites. The insights from these papers aptly highlight the analytical challenge of considering issues of temporality and intersectionality whilst also recognizing the multi-scalar political-economic and social factors that shape contemporary urban power dynamics and the reproduction of particular urban environments.
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