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Migration Land Alienation and Ethnic Conflict: Causes of Poverty in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh

Shapan Adnan (Author)
Synopsis This is a study of the causes of poverty among the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh - variously known as the Jumma people, the Paharis, or the hill peoples. The work is based on research activities undertaken over 1998-2004, including several rounds of fieldwork in the CHT. The varied sites of field work include Pahari village settlements, habitations of Bengali settlers, towns and urban centres, bazaars and market-places, the reserve forests, and the Kaptai lake and river networks. The approach of this study differs fundamentally from conventional discourses on poverty alleviation and development. It puts forward a diagnostic analysis of the causes of poverty, as well as alternative policy recommendations which follow from this approach. Furthermore, it does not presuppose that development interventions necessarily, or 'automatically', lead to poverty alleviation. These points are substantiated by the disastrous consequences of many development interventions in the CHT including the Kaptai hydroelectricity project, as well as the systematic diversion of development resources for security-oriented activities and counter-insurgency operations against the hill peoples. The study identifies four broad types of mechanisms generating and sustaining poverty among the hill peoples. These are manifested in a large number of processes, including exploitation and surplus extraction, expropriation of land and property, loss of lands, forests, and biodiversity, constraints to economic growth and human resources development, as well as breakdown of community-based institutions and redistributive norms among the hill peoples undermining their erstwhile capability to prevent or cope with poverty. These poverty-generating processes, in turn, are found to have been driven by antecedent factors and forces, inclusive of privatization and private appropriation, counterproductive development interventions, roles of particular donor agencies, processes of globalization, transmigration and counter-insurgency operations by the state and its security forces, ethnic conflict as well as exercise of power and violence for political repression and domination. The concluding chapter of the volume puts forward policy recommendations to deal with the manifold causes of poverty among the hill peoples, inclusive of land alienation and ethnic conflict in the CHT.
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About the author

Shapan Adnan

Shapan Adnan was educated at the Universities of Sussex and Cambridge, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford. He has taught at the Universities of Dhaka and Chittagong, and has served as the Director of Research of Research & Advisory Services. At present, Shapan Adnan teaches in the South Asian Studies Programme of the National University of Singapore. His research interests include political economy, peasant production and capitalist development, social organization and politics of the peasantry, interlinkages between the environment and development, critique of flood control programmes and the ‘development business’, as well as demographic issues related to fertility and migration.

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Bibliographic information

Title Migration Land Alienation and Ethnic Conflict: Causes of Poverty in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
Author Shapan Adnan
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9848111077
length xvi+252p., Figures; 193 Plates; Maps; Tables; Bibliography; Glossary; 25cm.