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Revisiting the ‘Kerala Model’

Tapoja Chaudhuri

Journal of South Asian Development, 2017, vol. 12, issue 2, 155-176

Abstract: For several decades after Independence, the ‘Kerala model’ provided a development alternative that set it apart from the rest of India. The recent rise of Kerala as a fast growing ‘responsible’ tourism destination has led to a resurgence of this narrative of exceptionalism. This article charts the shift from the ‘old’ Kerala development model, and its emphasis on distributive justice, to the ‘new’ Kerala model that nurtures public–private partnerships, in understanding how Kerala’s reputation as a unique region in India is maintained amid significant socioeconomic and political changes. Specifically, the article draws on ethnographic data from the Kumily/Periyar Tiger Reserve region in analyzing how unique locale-specific networks of biodiversity conservation ideologies, international capital and notions of environmental citizenship contribute to overall placemaking in Kerala. These regional identities are formed through the confluence of several ideologies, influences and personnel, thereby contributing to unique ‘actor-networks’ that emerge at specific locales.

Keywords: Regional identity; biodiversity conservation; development; Periyar Tiger Reserve; Kerala (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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