Precarity and possibility: on being young and Indigenous in Sikkim, India. GERGAN, M. Himalaya, 34(2):67–80, 2014.
Precarity and possibility: on being young and Indigenous in Sikkim, India [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
In the last decade the Indian Power Ministry began an aggressive campaign for hydropower development in its ten Himalayan states. Twenty-nine of these dams were commissioned for construction in the small Eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim. In June 2007 Dzongu a protected reserve of the indigenous Lepchas in North Sikkim became the center of controversy when reserve youth went on a hunger strike against seven dams planned within the reserve. Their protests garnered enough national and international attention to cancel four of the seven dams. However within the reserve there was very little support for the activists who were seen as educated, upper class youth, most of whom had studied and lived outside the reserve. In this article I narrow the focus on the Dzongu youth and demonstrate how contestations between State and indigenous groups often pry open profound contestations within these groups. In tracing the trajectory of the Dzongu activists after the protests I examine how they are redefining indigeneity, beyond and sometimes in conflict with former connotations. I argue that the anti-dam protests became a way for Dzongu youth to question state-led development agendas as well as elders and urban elite who spoke on behalf of the community. Building on literature in indigeneity and geographies of young people, this research draws on the authors M.A. research (2007-10), two pre-dissertation surveys (2011, 2012) and ongoing fieldwork. The Indian Himalayan region is home to several indigenous groups and is the site of intense geo-political anxiety given its proximity to China and Pakistan. I argue that an attention to young people’s political articulations can provide a valuable lens in analyzing the politics of nation building, the politics of difference and the shifting political subjectivities of marginalized groups.
@article{gergan_precarity_2014,
	series = {Asia},
	title = {Precarity and possibility: on being young and {Indigenous} in {Sikkim}, {India}},
	volume = {34},
	url = {https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol34/iss2/10},
	abstract = {In the last decade the Indian Power Ministry began an aggressive campaign for hydropower development in its ten Himalayan states. Twenty-nine of these dams were commissioned for construction in the small Eastern Himalayan state of Sikkim. In June 2007 Dzongu a protected reserve of the indigenous Lepchas in North Sikkim became the center of controversy when reserve youth went on a hunger strike against seven dams planned within the reserve. Their protests garnered enough national and international attention to cancel four of the seven dams. However within the reserve there was very little support for the activists who were seen as educated, upper class youth, most of whom had studied and lived outside the reserve. In this article I narrow the focus on the Dzongu youth and demonstrate how contestations between State and indigenous groups often pry open profound contestations within these groups. In tracing the trajectory of the Dzongu activists after the protests I examine how they are redefining indigeneity, beyond and sometimes in conflict with former connotations. I argue that the anti-dam protests became a way for Dzongu youth to question state-led development agendas as well as elders and urban elite who spoke on behalf of the community. Building on literature in indigeneity and geographies of young people, this research draws on the authors M.A. research (2007-10), two pre-dissertation surveys (2011, 2012) and ongoing fieldwork. The Indian Himalayan region is home to several indigenous groups and is the site of intense geo-political anxiety given its proximity to China and Pakistan. I argue that an attention to young people’s political articulations can provide a valuable lens in analyzing the politics of nation building, the politics of difference and the shifting political subjectivities of marginalized groups.},
	language = {en},
	number = {2},
	journal = {Himalaya},
	author = {GERGAN, Mabel},
	year = {2014},
	keywords = {Language: English, Region: Asia},
	pages = {67--80},
	file = {GERGAN - 2014 - Precarity and possibility on being young and Indi.pdf:/Users/bastien/Zotero/storage/5JNURVHM/GERGAN - 2014 - Precarity and possibility on being young and Indi.pdf:application/pdf},
}

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