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Selective access: or, how states make remoteness
Published in Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume: 27
Issue: 2
Pages: 204 - 220
What makes a place remote? Is remoteness a factor of geography and topography, is it a construct of connectivity, or is it an outcome of politics and history? For the Monpas of Arunachal Pradesh in North East India, inhabiting the Indo-Tibetan borderlands, remote denotes multiple aspects: lack of material infrastructure and transport, improper communication and geographical isolation. Living an enclave existence far away from centres of commerce, governance and industry, Monpas consider themselves to be backward. Yet, Monyul, the traditional homeland of the Monpa communities, is of high strategic importance in the still unresolved India–China border conflict. Its present remoteness is woven into the politics of borders and frontiers. Through a focus on the particular history and politics of Monyul, I show how colonial and postcolonial policies transformed the region into a remote periphery. While infrastructure and connectivity can lead to the economic and political integration of a region, the withholding of the same makes a region appear remote. I bring the concept of selective connectivity to understand how road infrastructure is a particular form of exercising state control. © 2019 European Association of Social Anthropologists
About the journal
JournalSocial Anthropology
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd