Ajit Menon

Membership:  2019 - 2020

Member Bio

Ajit Menon is based at the Madras Institute of Development Studies in
Chennai, India, and is interested in the political ecology of development and conservation within the wider context of and debates around capital accumulation. His research is primarily aimed at understanding how and when the ‘environment’ becomes important, the contestations both discursive and material that underlie conflicts over the environment and the environmental justice implications of development and conservation. Forested landscapes and coastal fisheries in south India have provided the site for most of his research. His recent and on-going work has focused on critiquing neoliberal conservation and economic valuation of tiger reserves and the impacts of
coastal transformation on fishing communities. At the Rachel Carson Centre, he will be working on a manuscript tentatively titled Contested Conservation: Governmentalizing Landscapes and Belonging in the Nilgiri-Wayanad region of South India. His most recent edited book along with Sharachchandra Lele is Democratizing Forest Governnance in India (New Delhi: OUP).


  • with M. Karthik. "Genealogies and Politics of Belonging: Nature and Conservation in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu," Conservation and Society 17, no. 2 (2019): 195–203.
  • with M. Sowman and J. M. Bavinck. "Rethinking Capitalist Transformation of Fisheries in South Africa and India," Ecology and Society 23, no. 4 (2018): 27.
  • with N. Rai. 2017. "Putting a Price on Tiger Reserves: Creating Conservation Value or Green Grabbing?" Economic and Political Weekly 52, no. 52 (2017): 23–26.
  • with M. Bavinck, J. Stephen and R. Manimohan. "The Political Ecology
    of Palk Bay Fisheries: Geographies of Capital, Fisher Conflict, Ethnicity and Nation-State," Antipode 48, no. 2 (2016): 393–411.
  • "The Godavarman Judgment: Erasing the Plurality of Land Use in Gudalur, Tamil Nadu." In Conflicts, Negotiations and Natural Resource Management: A Legal Pluralism Perspective from South and Southeast Asia, edited by J.M. Bavinck and A. Jyotishi, 33–50. New Delhi: Routledge, 2014.
  • with S. Lele. Democratizing Forest Governance in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014.