Within the framework of the Bar-Hillel Colloquium for the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science 2018-2019
Postcolonial states are states of endemic expropriation. The land question is once again key to their current capitalist transformation. Over the past few decades large-scale displacement of farmers, pastoralists, fishing and forest-dwelling communities in rural areas as well as those living in urban informal settlements has destroyed livelihoods, torn apart the social fabric and rendered millions in India superfluous. The lecture will analyze the dynamics of dispossession and primitive accumulation through liberalization of land. Using ethnographic material it will also examine some ongoing legal struggles against the new enclosures of the commons, be it against evictions from public land or against the privatization of biogenetic resources. It will ask: which legal forums or alternative norms can render the state accountable to its citizens? How can corporations be made answerable to communities whose common property resources they turn into profitable commodities?