Destabilizing ‘Development’: A Critique of Capitalocene in Sarah Joseph’s Gift in Green




Global South, Ecosystem people, Capitalocene, Environmental racism, Extractivism


Dean Curtin (1999) and Mariko Lin Frame (2023) argue that a minor portion of the world’s population has autonomy over resource consumption dynamics, while the majority is confined to the periphery (p. 35; p. 8). The global North sets the standards, as their lifestyles based on resource exploitation are depicted as ‘developed’. Promoting such ‘ecologically impossible’ conducts as benchmarks of development has grave consequences in the global south, where the ecological experiences of human beings are driven primarily by aims of subsistence and survival (Curtin, 1999, p. 35). Gift in Green (2011) by Sarah Joseph narrates the plight of a closely knit Pulaya (Dalit) community in Kerala, India. Their harmonious coexistence with the surrounding environment is manifested through the indigenous ecological structure. The congenial relationship between humans and nature is disrupted by Kumaran’s ideals of extractive and urban-industrial development. Eventually, the Edenic village ‘Aathi’ turns into a stinking dump yard of toxic pollutants. The “people of the ecosystem,” who rely on the meager resources around them, are deprived of their primary source of survival. Through close textual analysis of this novel and with a critical background informed by bioregional, ecocritical, and developmental theories, the article exhibits three facets of the central argument. First, we investigate how indigenous ecological structure strengthens human-nonhuman connections. Further, the essay demonstrates how Anthropocentric developmental notions based on ecological imperialism, extractivism, and capitalogenic plundering of the environment systematically destroy the socio-ecological fabric of the village of Aathi. Finally, the article explores the feasibility of environmentally and socially just development models.


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How to Cite

Pradhan, S., & Kumar, N. (2023). Destabilizing ‘Development’: A Critique of Capitalocene in Sarah Joseph’s Gift in Green. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 11(21), 85–99.