Post-development in Contemporary India: Politics of Mediation and Association

  • SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • SDG10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • SDG17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Aya Ikegame
Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia
Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies Associate Professor
It has been widely recognised that top-down development projects do not necessarily contribute to bettering the life of ordinary people. In India, where environmental degradation and the exhaustion of natural resources have become pressing social concerns, many state-led development projects have failed to address these issues and have worsened the situation. Instead of looking at large national or international development projects, we need to focus on the movements of people in local societies and their efforts to maintain and improve their lives through engagement with the state, market economy and global civil society. We describe and analyse these bottom-up movements within the “post-development” framework. First, we look at the ways in which local people redefine their forms of “association.” Secondly, we highlight the role of “intermediaries” who link local societies with the state, market and civil society at large. Through ethnographic fieldwork, we examine both the possibilities and limitations of several concrete examples of ”post-development,” such as in the mobilisation of people for environmental change, alternative forms of development, and new cultural and religious movements.
A guru (religious leader) intervenes with the state in order to complete a state-led irrigation project. Water was recently poured into dried tanks.
Aya Ikegame
A guru discusses with a representative of local farmers
Aya Ikegame

Research collaborators

- Akio Tanabe
- Shinya Ishizaka
- Yoshiaki Takemura

Related publications

- Aya IKEGAME, ‘Overlapping Sovereignties: Gurus and Citizenship’, in E. Isin (ed.), Citizenship after Orientalism, 281 pages, NY: Palgrave, 2015, pp.101-119.
- Aya IKEGAME, 'Governing Guru'. In A. Ikegame & J. Copeman (eds.) The Guru in South Asia, 2012, Routledge.


  • Tooru Nakamura
  • Email: kenkyo[at]
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