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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Climate Change Adaptation, Energy Projects and Uncertainty: An Ethnography of Climate Change and Development in Thar

Dissertationsprojekt von Vikram Das

 

Narratives of climate change are becoming central to the development discourse, and increasingly affect the way other global challenges, such as poverty and cultural survival are being understood. Although contested, the discourse of climate change forms an essential part of the decision making processes of both governments in the Global south and as well as donor dependent non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Development itself has been critiqued by likes of Escobar (2008) as the encounter between dominant models of capitalist development and subaltern forms of social, cultural, ecological, and economic life; networks and self-organization; knowledge production and social movements; and alternative forms of non-modern, nonreductive theorizing. This clash of cultures has also been observed in Pakistan, in the works by Bouzas (2012) and Jamali (2013) looking at large scale development.

In the limited literature on indigenous communities and climate change, two themes predominate – these communities as vulnerable or virtuous in relation to the environment and will be affected more by climate change than those in the industrial North that pollute more. In my research I wish to unpack these themes so show a more complex picture. This dissertation will also explore how climate change is being rendered as a “technical problem” (Fergusson 1990) by the Pakistani state and NGOs in the Thar Desert region of Pakistan.

My research will focus on various policy documents and projects begun by the NGOs looking at how the discourse of climate change, often led by western offices has been interpreted locally. Are NGO’s rendering the matter as technical, or are they willing to accept a long history of state neglect. The study will further explore how the previous trends are changing due to climate change, development projects and globalization, and how people are seeking alternatives. Furthermore, study will critically see how civil society, NGOs, the corporate sector and media are formulating contemporary climate change and globalization discourse.

 

Vikram Das belongs to Tharparkar, Pakistan. He's pursuing a PhD at the Department of South Asian studies, Humboldt University, Berlin. His PhD is fudned by Higher Education Comission (HEC) of Pakistan and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Previously, he has Master's degree in Anthropology from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He worked as Research Associate at the Department of Social Science and Liberal Arts (SSLA), Institute of Business Administration Karachi in the project "Climate adaption, land acquisition and security, the gendered politics of dispossession in Pakistan". He also worked in the Institute of Rural Management Islamabad as Researcher.