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The Land Question in IndiaState, Dispossession, and Capitalist Transition$
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Anthony P. D'Costa and Achin Chakraborty

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198792444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198792444.001.0001

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An Ethnographer’s Journey through Land Grab for Capitalists by the Left Front Government in West Bengal

An Ethnographer’s Journey through Land Grab for Capitalists by the Left Front Government in West Bengal

Chapter:
(p.283) 12 An Ethnographer’s Journey through Land Grab for Capitalists by the Left Front Government in West Bengal
Source:
The Land Question in India
Author(s):

Abhijit Guha

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198792444.003.0013

This chapter attempts to construct a multisite ethnography of land grab by the government for private profit-making companies in Paschim (west) Medinipur district of West Bengal under the pro-peasant leftist government. The text of the article juxtaposes the direct fieldwork experiences with archival data collected from land acquisition files. The transition from a land-based rural economy toward an industrial regime was not smooth. It was characterized by protest, resistance, and bargains by the peasants as well as government and private company failures despite official claims of industrial development and employment during the transition. This micro level anthropological study also has macro implications in which the author takes up the role of a storyteller, an actor interacting with parliamentarians at New Delhi as an expert on land acquisition, and also listening to the protesting and satirical voices of the peasants affected by governmental land grab.

Keywords:   land grab, ethnography, land acquisition, profit-making companies, West Bengal, transition, industrial regime

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