On the Banks of the Gaṅgā: When Wastewater Meets a Sacred River

Front Cover
University of Michigan Press, 2002 - Nature - 296 pages
0 Reviews
In this rich ethnographic study, Kelly D. Alley sheds light on debates about water uses, wastewater management, and the meanings of waste and sacred power. On the Banks of the Ganga analyzes the human predicaments that result from the accumulation and disposal of waste by tracing how citizens of India interpret the impact of wastewater flows on a sacred river and on their own cultural practices.
Alley investigates ethno-semantic, discursive, and institutional data to flesh out the interplay between religious, scientific, and official discourses about the river Ganga. Using a new outward layering methodology, she points out that anthropological analysis must separate the historical and discursive strands of the debates concerning waste and sacred purity in order to reveal the cultural complexities that surround the Ganga. Ultimately, she addresses a deeply rooted cultural paradox: if the Ganga river is considered sacred by Hindus across India, then why do the people allow it to become polluted?
Examining areas of contemporary concern such as water usage and urban waste management in the most populated river basin in the world, this book will appeal to anthropologists and readers in religious, environmental, and Asian studies, as well as geography and law.
Kelly D. Alley is Associate Professor and Director of Anthropology at Auburn University. In addition to being a prolific writer, she has conducted research on public culture and environmental issues in northern India for over a decade. Alley is currently overseeing a project to ameliorate river pollution problems in India.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

List of Illustrations
ix
Acknowledgments
xi
Field Methods and Layers of Data
1
Contours of the Geographic Cultural and Theoretical Fields
17
The Polyvalency of Purity and Pollution
36
The Power of Ganga
50
Sacred Purity and Uncleanness
75
Purity and Flow
106
The Institutions of Wastewater Management
155
Contesting Water Quality and Mapping Wastewater
180
Transcendence and Immanence
207
Conclusion Toward a Paradigm of Discourses and Powers
232
Notes
249
Glossary
265
Bibliography
267
Index
293

Defilement and Fouling in Colonial Law
121
Pollution and the Emergence of Judicial Activism
140

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 271 - Where Kitchen and Laboratory Meet: The 'Tested Food for Silesia

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

O.P. Dwivedi teaches environmental policy and law and public administration. He has published twenty-six books and many articles and chapters in books. Former member (1986-89) of the Environmental Assessment Board of Ontario; past president of the Canadian Political Science Association; former vice president of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, Brussels; and chair of the Research Committee on Technology and Development of the International Political Science Association.

Bibliographic information