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Title: Environmental capital as cultural capital : environmentalism and identity-formation in the Indian middle class
Author: Sastry, Deepti
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 5214
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The environment as a conceptual category is utilised by middle-class Delhites to negotiate and exhibit differences from one another as well as from other class fractions, particularly the poor. This thesis employs Bourdieu’s tools of habitus and cultural capital as a point of departure to explore how the environment is embodied by various class fractions. Additionally, in recognising the complex social, economic and cultural environment in contemporary, post-liberalisation India the thesis explores the conscious processes that are employed by fractions of the middle class as subjective experiences of the environment: forms of environmentality (Agarwal, 2005). This is done through a series of case studies. The first case analyses formal environmental education in three Delhi schools. Students showed knowledge and concerns that focused largely on proximate concerns and, in fee-paying schools, narratives of wildlife conservation. These narratives were also reinforced in the curriculum, which emphasised local environmental issues and reaffirmed class boundaries through the language of the environment. The second case study explores how residents of two middle-class neighbourhoods embody the environment as social practice and how their local subjectivities influence how and in what form they engage with the environment. The final case study examines the ways in which the environment is embodied and discursively framed by middle-class members of two wildlife clubs. Members of the two clubs conceptualised the environment quite differently, reflecting different fractions of the middle class: specifically, an upwardly mobile consuming global new middle class and an older, post-Independence (Nehruvian) middle class. Together these case studies suggest that the environment is both embodied, in different forms of social practice, in addition to being consciously negotiated, drawing on their subjective experiences of the environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available