Mitigating climate change is often framed as the ultimate collective action problem of this era and great emphasis is made on the need for approaches that foster “cooperation” and “consensus”. This paper argues that the irony of this rhetoric could not be more stark; climate policy framing is an exclusionary process, and climate mitigating interventions that are engineered essentially to address neoliberal economic concerns rather than environmental challenges are often the source of multiple new conflicts. In this regard, this paper shows how the response of local non governmental organisations (NGOs) to hydropower development in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal in the Eastern Himalayas bears evidence to Gramscian analyses of “the manufacture of consent” between elite bourgeois actors - the state, formal civil society, political parties and the private sector. Such “associational” unions are only occasionally interrupted, as in the case of the people’s movement, Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) in North Sikkim. Finding a balance between resistance and enabling political space to think and act differently, the movement led to the cancellation of several hydropower projects put forward in the name of climate mitigation, and in the process, drew attention to political processes involved in the manufacture of consent. Using case studies from the Darjeeling and Sikkim regions, this paper distinguishes between Gramsci’s vision of the political space of disruption vis-à-vis the covert agenda of climate consensus.
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- Civil society
- Political processes
- Climate change
- Environmental governance
Joshi, D., Platteeuw, J., Singh, J., & Teoh, J. (2019). Watered Down? Civil Society Organizations and Hydropower Development in the Darjeeling and Sikkim regions, Eastern Himalaya: A comparative study. Climate Policy , 19(sup1), S63-S77. https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2018.1557035