Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - Land Acquisition, Rural Protests, and the Local State in China and India

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

As China and India urbanize, land acquisition by state and private actors has become highly contentious in both countries. This article compares two large-scale anti-land acquisition protests—the Wukan protest in China’s Guangdong province and the Singur protest in the Indian State of West Bengal—to examine how the subnational state partakes in land acquisition and how rural protesters engage with different levels of the state in their resistance. The comparative analysis finds that the different involvement of the subnational state in land speculation has produced different spatiality and dynamics of protests. In China, rural protesters target the bottom-level authority such as village councils, often taking on a cellular form of mobilization geographically confined to their particular villages. By comparison, in India rural protesters target the regional state governments and they engage in associational forms of mobilization by building ad hoc alliances with political parties and NGOs beyond the affected villages. Although the larger context of political regimes should be taken into account, this article shows that the scales at which the subnational state partakes in land acquisition have largely shaped the spatiality and strategies of rural protests.

Xuefei Ren

Michigan State University, United States

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1 - Land Acquisition, Rural Protests, and the Local State in China and India



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