Kenneth Bo Nielsen: "Bovine meat, authoritarian populism, and state contradictions in Modi's India"

In this article published in Journal of Agrarian Change, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Jostein Jakobsen focus on the ways by which bovine meat figures in Narendra Modi's authoritarian populist project in contemporary India.

Abstract

While authoritarian populism and its relationship to the rural world have gained analytical prominence recently, few have attempted a systematic exploration of how various authoritarian populisms emerge from, and are embedded within, dynamics of capital accumulation, state, and class struggle.

Drawing on Poulantzas' approach to “state contradictions,” Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Jostein Jakobsen focus on the ways by which bovine meat figures in Narendra Modi's authoritarian populist project in contemporary India. On the one hand, violent authoritarianism in the country uses beef eating as a powerful tool for subjugating subaltern groups to Hindutva rule. On the other hand, the country houses a rapidly expanding beef meat agro-industry, accounting for as much as 20% of global exports and based on corporate concentration around dominant class interests.

The authors argue that this points to state contradictions in Modi's India witnessing strained accumulation patterns. These contradictions, they emphasize, have distinct ramifications for India's classes of labour in the countryside, as certain groups experience what the authors describe as a process of “double victimization.”

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Published May 24, 2022 8:26 AM - Last modified May 24, 2022 8:26 AM