The Politics of Swidden Farming offers a new explanation for the changes taking place in swidden farming practised in the highlands of eastern India through an ethnographic case study. The book traces the story of agroecological change and state intervention to colonial times, and helps understand contemporary agrarian change by contextualizing farming not just in terms of the science and technology of agriculture or conservation and biodiversity but also in terms of technologies of rule. The Politics of Swidden Farming adds a new dimension to the underdeveloped literature on shifting cultivation in South Asia by focusing on the social ecology of farming and agrarian change in the hills. It provides a comparative viewpoint to state-centred and donor-driven development in the frontier region by bringing in different actors and institutions that become the actants and agents of social change.
Debojyoti Das is an AHRC-GCRF postdoctoral associate at Bristol University, UK. He received his PhD in social anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and has held several prestigious fellowships and consultancies at Yale, Sussex and the University of London. Das has published widely in journals such as the European Bulletin of Himalayan Research, Journal of Borderland Studies, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region and Economic and Political Weekly besides contributing to blogs.