#TPEKA (The Power Ecology Knowledge Axis, October 25, 2014)

SynTalk thinks about the power-ecology-knowledge triad with a certain anticipatory emphasis on ecology & modernity and their crises in a broad sense. The discussion attempts to understand each of the three concepts from the vantage points of the other two. The concepts are derived off / from Nietzsche (will to power), Mahatma Gandhi (swaraj, oceanic circles), Schumacher (‘small is beautiful’), Lovelock (Gaia hypothesis) & Isabelle Stengers (‘ecology of practices’), among others. What is soil to a farmer, and can soil be male or female? How / when did nature become natural resource? How a certain non-modern conception of ‘owning’ (of, say, land) go together with ‘owing’, and not remain linked to the concept of property. How the power (thought of as work done per unit of time) of modern & traditional industries differ? How is the non-natural linked to a certain power-led deviation away from equilibrium & ambient conditions? Power as the nature and manner of valuing & validation, and an ecology of practices. Does a certain Will to Power underwrite both natural and human forms? Is ‘symbiosis’ a possible thematic countertrend to the Will to Power? Are the paradigmatic logics of ‘social being’ and ‘dominant knowledge’ separable from each other? How the modern panchayat systems are different from the traditional panchayat system in its political structure? What is Radical Ecological Democracy (or swaraj, or sumak causay, or el buen vivir, or Solidarity)? The significance of endogenous modeling over (seemingly) indigenous ones. How some communities conceive of themselves as earth citizens (sharing the planet with ~50 million other floral & faunal species). Do we need a certain ecological reconceptualization to include the inanimate as well. How do we all fly planes in a sustainable world? The SynTalkrs are: Prof. Sasheej Hegde (sociology, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad), Ashish Kothari (ecology, conservation, Kalpavriksh, Pune), & Sunil Sahasrabudhey (philosophy, science, Vidya Ashram, Varanasi).

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TPEKA show.

Prof. Sasheej Hegde (philosophy, sociology) is Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad.  His research and teaching has concerned a subject area intermediate between ‘philosophy’, social and political theory, and culture critique: the question, specifically, of the enabling histories with which one works.  More directly, his areas of work have implicated three domains of inquiry, namely, the Structure and Dynamics of Disciplines, the Interpretation of Modernity, and Research on Normative Political Languages.  He has published fairly extensively in each of these domains.  Even as these terrains have meant a renewed conceptual thrust, his work has actively sought to cultivate many epistemological questions and socio-historical settings.  His interests have been steadily devolving on questions of law / ethics and constitutional jurisprudence.  He also remains as passionate as ever about cricket and anagrammatic writing.

Ashish Kothari  (ecology, conservation) is Founder-member of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh. Ashish taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration in 1990s. He coordinated India’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process, served on Greenpeace International and India Boards, co-chaired IUCN WCPA-CEESP Strategic Direction on Governance, Equity and Livelihoods (TILCEPA), and helped found the ICCA Consortium. Active in peoples’ movements and on government committees, Ashish has initiated a process to bring together people and stories on alternatives in India, Vikalp Sangam, and networking on well-being alternatives around the world, through a Peoples’ Sustainability Treaty on Radical Ecological Democracy (RED). He has authored or edited (singly or with others) over 30 books, including (with Graeme Worboys and Michael Lockwood) Managing Protected Areas: A Global Guide, and (with Aseem Shrivastava) Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India.

Sunil Sahasrabudhey (philosophy, science) is a knowledge activist, organizer and a researcher, the areas of activity relating to the Lokavidya Knowledge Movement, Farmers’ Movement and the Logic of Science and Knowledge in general, from Gandhian and Lokavidya perspectives. Decades ago he did his Masters in Chemistry from IIT Kanpur, and then shifted to do a Ph.D. in Philosophy (also from IIT Kanpur). His activist and research engagements have been rooted in a lifelong concern with developing a philosophical standpoint that may enable ordinary people to take public initiative for shaping their lives through fighting discrimination, injustice and exploitation. He has written and edited several books on the farmers’ movement and the logic of science from a Gandhian perspective. After a stint at Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi, with a group of similar thinking friends he founded Vidya Ashram in 2004. The Ashram functions as the intellectual and organizational secretariat of a knowledge movement of those people of who have not gone through the rigors of modern education.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

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