Kenneth Bo Nielsen: "India’s Evolving Neoliberal Regime of Dispossession: From the Anti-SEZ Movement to the Farm Law Protests"

In this article, published in Sociological Bulletin, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Alf Gunvald Nilsen develop a heuristic periodisation of Indian neoliberalisation and argue that the now-repealed farm laws and the strong farmers' resistance to them are indexical of India moving towards a 'rollover' form of neoliberalism.

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Abstract

What do the protests against the farm laws of the Modi regime tell us about the trajectory of neoliberalisation in India? In this article, Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Alf Gunvald Nilsen address this question through a comparative analysis of the farm law protests and movements against land dispossession that mushroomed in many parts of India in the wake of the passing of India's SEZ Act in 2005.

Both movements have explicitly targeted neoliberal policies that aggressively sought to remove obstacles to capitalist accumulation. However, the two movements are separated by roughly 15 years, and in effect target two distinctly different forms of dispossession—one predominantly coercive, the other predominantly market-driven. This begs questions as to whether the emergence of the farm law protests is indexical of new shifts in Indian neoliberalism?

Nielsen and Nilsen argue that the answer to this question is a qualified yes. Through comparison and discussion of anti-dispossession struggles and the anti-farm laws protests, carried out in dialogue with the literature on regimes of dispossession, they develop a heuristic periodisation of Indian neoliberalisation and argue that the now-repealed farm laws and the strong farmers' resistance to them are indexical of India moving towards a 'rollover' form of neoliberalism.

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Published Sep. 2, 2022 8:52 AM - Last modified Sep. 2, 2022 8:52 AM