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THE ALLURE OF THE TRANSNATIONAL: Notes on Some Aspects of the Political Economy of Water

My intention in this article, which is very exploratory and quite incomplete, is to use the Plachimada struggle to lay out some of the key issues that it highlights about the nature of transnational corporations, globalization, and the situation in India. However, I want to also suggest that this story hides a much bigger issuethat a focus on transnational corporations in India per se does not address. There is a much more important and ongoing story in India, the agrarian crisis, which although related to aspects of neoliberal globalization in India, has to be treated and analyzed on a different level. I argue that the Plachimada struggle, like the struggles of other rural communities confronting various forms of water privatization, also needs to be analyzed as part of the unfolding agrarian crisis and not simply as a case of a valiant community struggling against the rapacious practices of a transnational corporation like The Coca-Cola Company. Analysis of the Plachimada struggle within this wider framework holds implications for academics and activists alike, and I hope my brief exposition will raise some questions for discussion and debate.

Author(s): Ananthkrishnan Aiyer

Publication: CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, Vol. 22, Issue 4, pp. 640–658.

Date: 2007

Country: India

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