Kerala : a Desakota ?

Mathieu Pauchet, Université de Provence
Sébastien Oliveau, Université de Provence

Kerala, state situated in the extreme southwest of India, presents a problem in the definition of its space. The differentiation between city and countryside is often difficult for half of the territory. Moreover, the definition of the rural and urban environment by the census of India may not be relevant in the case of Kerala. We can question if the dichotomy rural-urban of the space has still a sense ? McGee goes beyond this vision, putting forward the concept of desakota (literally « town-village ») to define regions situated between major cities, specific of monsoon Asia. This paper tries to determinate in which measure the concept of desakota can fit in the case of Kerala. Two approaches had been used to handle the five common features of desakota regions. The first one, the “vertical” one, uses the statistics of the “census of India” through a geographical information system (GIS), along with satellite images. The second one, the “horizontal” or local one, constitutes the fieldwork realised in two villages of Kerala. After focusing on the problem of the dichotomous vision of the space (in general and in Kerala), we have exposed the concept of the desakota. Then, we have analysed the features of the concept about the transformation of the agricultural/rural world (cultures, increase of non agricultural activities, women work). To finish, questions of land use and mobility have been handled, that leads to a modelling of the desakota in Kerala.

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Presented in Poster Session 2