Medha Patkar’s environmental activism and professional social work in India: Mass legitimacy and myopic structures

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Abstract

This chapter aims to discuss the environmental activism of Medha Patkar ' legitimized by the masses, restricted by the state, and mostly passively observed by the social work profession. Drawing on secondary data, we examine the nature and scope of Medha Patkar's environmental activism involving the mobilization of masses against challenges posed by the state in India, particularly through a range of satyagraha/social action methods employed to achieve social justice for poor and marginalized people threatened with displacement as a consequence of large-scale dam construction projects. The struggle centres on state interventions that obstruct the social action and question the legitimacy of the action that was undertaken with mass support, raising critical questions for the social work profession. We discuss the goals of the social movement, the satyagraha methods employed toward achieving them, and the responses of the state, and finally, we explore the implications for the social work profession.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSubversive action
Subtitle of host publicationExtralegal practices for social justice
EditorsNilan Yu, Deena Mandell
Place of PublicationOntario, Canada
PublisherWilfrid Laurier University Press
Chapter5
Pages77-97
Number of pages21
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781771120852, 9781771120869
ISBN (Print)9781771121231
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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