Divine Ganges, Profane Development: Sacred Geographies and the Governing of Pollution

Projekt: Forskning



The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council ('Vetenskapsrådet').

The project studies the tension between notions of the Ganges that stem from religious and secular conceptions of it. These are often incompatible and result in dissonant ideas regarding how to manage and respond to its state of pollution, degradation and capriciousness. The Ganges is a principal constituent of the sacred geography of South Asia, particularly to Hindus, at the same time as millions of people depend on it for daily sustenance. This duality informs how India and Bangladesh act to govern the river and seek to mobilise sustainable water management, yet it also affects how individuals and communities relate to the river’s welfare and possible use. Contradicting views of the river are manifest in religious and secular representations broadly and in concrete mismatches between state-level governance and lay beliefs. In order to examine state activities as well as the belief systems of individuals, the project consists of two components. The first probes attempts in India and Bangladesh to make the Ganges integral to development efforts and nation building, and the extent to which these relate to the basic tension. The second stresses how cultural and religious assumptions regarding the Ganges, in the form of lay beliefs, interact with environmental concerns ascribed to it. The objective is to grasp the ways in which discordant ideas about the river are reflected in state activities and in lay beliefs, and where we find overlaps and inconsistencies between these.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2020/01/012022/12/31

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier)
  • Psykologi (exklusive tillämpad psykologi)
  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier