EDGES alumna, Mayuri Sengupta, published an article titled, “Conserving and commercialising forests: tribal women and subjectivity in Bagafa forest of Tripura (Northeast India)” in Gender, Place & Culture.
Abstract: Two perspectives on women’s relationships to forests are usually invoked in much of the mainstream policies and research on gender and forest management in India. First, forest-dwelling women, particularly tribal women, are perceived as sharing some inherent and symbiotic relationships to forests and are, custodians of forests. These women are also seen as having significant stakes in state-led forest management projects to meet their subsistence and cultural needs in forests. Second, there is also a perception in India that forest-dwelling communities have strong desires to commercialise forests, and women work with men to garner economic benefits by unsustainably extracting forest resources. Both perspectives are often used to understand how and why tribal women use forest resources and may participate in state-led forest management projects. However, such perspectives give scarce attention to how forest management projects and other lived realities in forests have gendered consequences for women’s lives and livelihoods, the everyday emotional and physical experiences of which reinforce gender inequalities, shape gender subjectivities, and is useful to understand how and why different women may use forest resources and relate to conservation projects in certain complex ways. Through an ethnographic study of a small group of tribal women who illegally planted rubber trees in the Bagafa reserved forest of Tripura, this article examines how women’s subjectivities are produced, performed and contested at intersections of livelihood struggles in forests, aspirations for development, and forest management project-encounters, that come to shape both, their use of forest resources and approaches towards conservation projects.
(2020) Conserving and commercialising forests: tribal women and subjectivity in Bagafa forest of Tripura (Northeast India), Gender, Place & Culture,
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