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Special Economic Zones in India: Reconfiguring Displacement in a Neoliberal Order?



In this paper I explore some legal and political strands in the schema of Special Economic Zones in India with specific reference to an immediate fallout of serious concern and contestation—the imminent displacement of thousands of people and livelihoods in the countryside where large SEZs are slated to come up. I examine the issues emerging from the peasant resistance to SALIM SEZ in the Nadigram block in West Bengal, to SEZs in Goa and ethnographic material from the Mumbai SEZ area of Raigad district in Maharashtra to offer a synoptic picture of the controversies around SEZs in India. In view of the developing scenario of dispossession and/ or distress, I argue for an anthropological praxis of political economic engagement.