This book is primarily concerned with the themes of development, social movements and nonviolent sanctions and how they intersect within the political, economic and cultural context of contemporary India. While the geographical focus of this book pertains to a particular country, the issues that it addresses -- the effects of the development process upon community culture, economy and identity; the emergence and character of social movements as a response to the development process; and the use of nonviolent sanctions by social movements to effect social change -- have important implications that extend far beyond the borders of India.
Concerning social movement agency, my contention is that research on contemporary social movements has focused primarily on the goals, organization and success of particular struggles but has paid insufficient attention to the specific sanctions employed by movements and to the cultural milieu in which such struggles occur and are embedded, in the language in which the social actors express their discontent. In this book, I attempt to address this problem by adopting a place perspective to the study of social movements. My research shows how the geographical concept of place (where a movement emerges and why it emerges where it does) provides an important perspective in the understanding of social movement agency. I show how the constituent elements of place, namely locale (the settings in which everyday social interactions and relations are constituted), location (the social, economic and political processes operating in the geographical area encompassing the locale) and sense of place (the local "structure of feeling" engendered by living in a place)