Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Arundhati Roy and the Narmada Dams controversy : development journalism and the ‘new international public sphere’ ?

By Jane Chapman


In my 2006 article for this journal (16 (2) Sept- Dec) on the subject of the 15 year long Narmada protest, I examined some activist mass communications that have made an impact internationally. Stressing the new, interdisciplinary nature of activist cultural communication, I analysed some of the essay writings of Arundhati Roy as well as two documentaries by Anand Patwardhan and Franny Armstrong. In this essay I return to her key anti big dam texts- in particular her seminal The Cost of Living (1999), the short essay Ahimsa published in The Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (2004a), and her writings about the role of Enron in the construction of a gas plant at Dabhol (an allied development story), featured in Power Politics (2001). The purpose of this enquiry is to further define Roy’s internationally acknowledged contribution. In particular, I will discuss elements of continuity versus change: is she breaking new ground as a global ‘writer activist’ who is contributing to the growth of a ‘new international public sphere’? Or is her contribution better understood either within the context of Gandhi’s tradition of journalism, or alongside some of India’s more eminent contemporary development journalists? By examining Roy’s literary techniques and intentions, I hope to highlight some issues relating to the future more generally for activist journalism on development issues

Topics: V271 International History, P990 Mass Communications and Documentation not elsewhere classified, V243 South East Asian History, V147 Modern History 1950-1999, L321 Women's Studies, P590 Journalism not elsewhere classified, V200 History by area, V320 Social History, V310 Economic History, V210 British History, P300 Media studies, R130 French Society and Culture, V240 Asian History, V242 Indian History, V146 Modern History 1920-1949, V140 Modern History, V221 French History, P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation, R100 French studies, P305 Paper-based Media studies, R190 French studies not elsewhere classified, P390 Media studies not elsewhere classified, P500 Journalism
Publisher: Bahri Publications
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.