‘Bourgeois Environmentalism’, the State, the Judiciary, and the ‘Urban Poor’

Kaveri Gill

in Of Poverty and Plastic

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198060864
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080175 | DOI:
‘Bourgeois Environmentalism’, the State, the Judiciary, and the ‘Urban Poor’

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This chapter focuses on two cases of middle-class environmentalism in Delhi: a bill proposed by the legislative state assembly banning recycled polythene bags and a Supreme Court order relocating ‘polluting and non-conforming’ industries out of the city. Through these chaotic and challenging episodes for the informal sector plastic recycling industry in Delhi, the chapter examines not only how disparate groups of the ‘urban poor’ working in this sector ‘see the state’ and the judiciary, but also how they react to these developments and the channels though which they seek to influence or change the course of events, with varying degrees of success. The discussion begins with an introduction to the interest groups involved, directly or indirectly, in both the case studies and a brief outline of their class positioning. The chapter concludes with a wider discussion of society-state relations, including the degree to which the urban poor are actually empowered to exert voice and agency, and the reality of citizenship and governance in the city.

Keywords: Delhi; environmentalism; state; judiciary; informal sector; polythene bags; plastic recycling; urban poor; interest groups; agency

Chapter.  16420 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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