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SAC Presents: Bernadette White

341 Eggers Hall

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 Framing Culpability: Discourses on Farmers' Suicide Since the beginning of the 1990s, farmer suicide has been seen as one of the most pressing issues in rural India. In one decade, stretching from 1997 to 2007, 182,936 farmers have committed suicide, with close to two-thirds of those suicides occurring in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. P. Sainath, a prominent Indian journalist, most aptly summarizes the rural situation in India as “Ag Crisis 101” that can be attributed to the “drive to corporate farming” through the “predatory commercialization of the countryside” with the result of the “largest displacement in our history.” Into the fray of this quandary has been the growth and increasing reliance upon development organizations to address India’s growing agrarian crisis. The overarching questions, at this junction, are how did farmers’ suicide phenomenon become identified as a socio-political issue in rural India and how have development organizations responded? And more specifically, how are these responses shaped by dominant discourses about farmers’ suicide?


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