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Title: Law, strategies, ideologies : legislating forests in Colonial India, 1792-1882
Author: Pathak, Akhileshwar
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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The thesis explores the relationships between legal provision and ideas on forests in colonial India from 1792 to 1882. The colonial officials generally maintained that in India there was disorder, despotism and injustice till they brought modern law, which was certain, ordered, principled and just. But in the case of forests, the forest law introduced by the colonial government was far from settled, certain and ordered. The law on the ownership of forests, whether the government or the landholders, was changed almost every ten years. This is not to say that 'traditional' law was itself settled and clear, but modern law, in its origins, was partisan, arbitrary and manipulative and far from its pretensions. Beneath the grandeur of legal theories and principles, there was strategic play of power and domination. In exploring the processes and discourses through which these reversals of law were secured, I draw from and engage with the works of Foucault and other theorists of post-colonialism, post-structuralism, deconstruction and Critical Theory. I particularly critique work which accords primacy to textual productions, ignoring the specific social and historical conjunctures in which these are produced. Locating the specific provisions of law and legal ideas in the every-day practices in the micro sites, my study suggests that the specific legal provisions were neither authored by the top layers of the administration nor based on nor derived from legal theories and principles. The strategies and counter-strategies produced in the micro sites of societies were abstracted, refined and accommodated within the given legal ideas. In this sense, forest law was a dossier of already prevalent practices. Similarly, legal ideas were produced in specific contexts to legitimate certain strategic devices. These ideas then were refined, revised and assimilated in the body of legal knowledge. The legal theory had the function of legitimating and projecting certain practices while the Act took care of specific details of administering the forests. The law thus is formed through the negotiation of strategy and ideology; and theory and practice in macro and micro sites.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available