India's Temporal Imaginaries of Climate Change, 1988-2018

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Virginia Tech

The advent of climate change promises extreme disruptions to existing concepts of political time, namely the distinction between the modes of time adopted by modern nation-states, natural time, and the everyday life of human beings. Yet the nation-state remains the primary actor through which climate politics is shaped. India is one the most prominent actors in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and also likely to be one of the most climate-affected societies moving forward. Over the 30-year history of India's engagement at the UNFCCC, there has been a shift from constructing a secular, past-oriented imaginary to a sacred, future-oriented one. The state has fostered these temporal imaginaries through three discursive registers: international politics, climate science, and conservative Hindu ideology. These imaginaries act as a heuristic tool with which to analyze the changing dynamics of political temporality in an era of rapid and extreme climate change.

temporality, political imaginary, climate change, India