Society for Economic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Critical discussion of the intersection of neoliberal policy and climate change emphasizes perverse inducements that exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, increased vulnerability to landscape degradation, negative exchange entitlements, and structural violence. In this discourse, systemic blockages confound efforts to promote environmental restoration and build resilience. Prominent in these accounts are political incapacities linked to the decline of the liberal democratic state, its capture by interest groups seeking short-term maximal gain, and centralizing processes that exclude or marginalize possible counter narratives. Populations in arid and semi-arid landscapes, such as in the Rajasthan desert in western India, face the expanding unpredictability and scope of extreme events consequentially linked to climate change processes. Efforts at risk reduction include the robust application of scientific and indigenous technologies including, but not limited to, an expanded reach of the state to deliver services and information to at-risk groups. Given India's historic—and somewhat fraught—relationship with global capitalistic development, the question rises how or in what forms neoliberal policy informs strategies of community reinforcement amid the local experience of intensifying land degradation, drought, destructive wind- and sandstorms, and unexpected flooding in arid regions.