Social Metabolism and Environmental Conflicts in India


  • Joan Martinez-Alier
  • Leah Temper
  • Federico Demaria


This paper explains the methods for counting the energy and material flows in the economy, and gives the main results of the Material Flows for the economy of India between 1961 and 2008 as researched by Simron Singh et al (2012). Drawing on work done in the EJOLT project, some illustrations are given of the links between the changing social metabolism and ecological distribution conflicts, looking at responses in Odisha to bauxite mining, at conflicts on sand mining, at disputes on waste management options in Delhi and at ship dismantling in Alang, Gujarat. The aim is to show how a history of social metabolism, of socio-environmental conflicts, and of the changing valuation languages deployed by various social actors in such conflicts, could be written in a common framework.


Economic Growth, Material Flows, Bauxite Mining, Sand Mining, Ship Dismantling, Urban Waste Disposal, Environmental Movements




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