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Jagadeesh, S. N. (2020).
waiting to stay: in-situ displacement and soliga youth in tiger reserves in south india
. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA. 
Added by: Prashanth NS (2/1/22, 5:07 PM)   
Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
BibTeX citation key: Jagadeesh2020
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Categories: Health
Creators: Jagadeesh
Publisher: University of Colorado (Boulder, Colorado, USA)
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Political Ecology critiques wildlife conservation for violently removing people from protected areas. As a solution, activists and academics alike advocate for rights-based legal mechanisms to give people legitimacy within forest spaces. This thesis explores the limitations of this solution in the BR Hills and the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserves in South India. Following Feminist Political Ecology’s call to better understand the intersectional differences within communities in conservation spaces, I study intergenerational change and the everyday lives of youth. Based on two and a half months of participant observation and over 100 interviews, the thesis explores the ways in which the Soliga tribe, and young people in particular, navigate the material, discursive and legal facets of conservation that shape their lives. Through ethnographic data and interview transcripts, I describe people’s experiences in the forest and their engagements with the forest department, focusing on youth as a lens through which future possibilities emerge. I argue that, although people have rights within tiger reserves, they continue to be dispossessed through in-situ displacement. Youth, in particular, feel caught between worlds, experiencing long-term “waiting” for an undefined future in the forests they call home. Interestingly, I found that most young people want to stay in the forest and are willing to subsist under uncertain and precarious circumstances to do so. Further, many young people want to get jobs with the forest department to empower and represent their community. I illustrate the complexity and contradictory nature of life within tiger reserves for young adults, highlighting the need to centre their everyday struggles in research. I argue that empowerment of Soligas needs to move beyond legal mechanisms to consider other forms of negotiation that communities employ.

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