Paper: Protest as participation: insights from the environmental movements in Bangladesh

Paper details

Paper authors Zeenat Mahjabeen
In panel on Building locally-led solidarities over shrinking space for civil society
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person & Online


Bangladesh is currently under threat of environmental disaster for a number of severe environmental problems such as deforestation, ground water contamination and watershed mismanagements. In the context of fragile democracy, despite the formal channels created recently by the government to express views and concerns on city planning and environment, environmental movements are now-a-days very common phenomena in the country which include protests in the form of gatherings in public spaces, agitation, promoting debates, offering information and extending networks. Previous studies on global south indicate some succeeding and failing factors, few perceive these movements as opportunities contributing to redistributive development opportunities for marginalised people, whereas some studies criticised on the grounds of exploiting local people and their networks for the purpose of political and capital gain. This paper will unfold why local people participate in protest, how they participate and how effective are their protests in terms of their empowerment and representation and finally who wins who loses. Based on empirical research comprising of in-depth interviews with key informants purposively selected from Bangladesh and secondary data analysis, this paper will shed light on the power dynamics of local civil society organisations, international agencies, community members and stakeholders affiliated with political power and money.