Photo: Dolly Kikon

Living with Oil and Coal

Living with Oil and Coal

Resource Politics and Militarization in Northeast India

The nineteenth-century discovery of oil in the eastern Himalayan foothills, together with the establishment of tea plantations and other extractive industries, continues to have a profound impact on life in the region. In the Indian states of Assam and Nagaland, everyday militarization, violence, and the scramble for natural resources regulate the lives of Naga, Ahom, and Adivasi people, as well as migrants from elsewhere in the region, as they struggle to find peace and work.

Dolly Kikon uses in-depth ethnographic accounts to address the complexity of Northeast India, a region between Southeast Asia and China where boundaries and borders are made, disputed, and maintained. Bringing a fresh and exciting direction to borderland studies, she explores the social bonds established through practices of resource extraction and the tensions these relations generate, focusing on peoples’ love for the landscape and for the state, as well as for family, friends, and neighbours. Living with Oil and Coal illuminates questions of citizenship, social justice, and environmental politics that are shared by communities worldwide.

Living with Oil and Coal

Resource Politics and Militarization in Northeast India

Published 2019, University of Washington Press, Seattle, US

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Reviews

  • In Living with Oil and Coal: Resource Politics and Militarization in Northeast India, anthropologist Dolly Kikon offers a rich account of life in the midst of a landscape defined by multiple overlapping extractive industries and plantation economies, and of the social relations through which a resource frontier comes into being.
    – New Books in Anthropology podcast
  • Kikon’s absorbing account on a militarized carbon landscape would stand out because of the novel ways in which violence, friendship and love are examined in their multiple, complex and textured manifestations…. Kikon must be commended for her authoritative and innovative ways of understanding the militarized carbon landscape not only as a violent space, but also as a thriving space of symbols, meanings, and people’s accounts and connections with the land.
    Kham Khan Suan Hausing, Professor, University of Hyderabad.
  • Living with Oil & Coal is a wonderful book that adds much-needed depth and detail to our understanding of how people create place and belonging while navigating the expansion of the global market to extract oil and coal from their land. This is a versatile book that would be accessible for undergraduate audiences, yet contains complexity that would be of great interest for graduate audiences and scholars as well. Highly recommended.
    CJ Appleton, Portland State University

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