Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Division of Mass Communication

First Advisor

Basilio Monteiro

Second Advisor

Mark Juszczak

Third Advisor

Tiffany Mohr


The aim of this study is to examine whether the “juridical field,” as defined by Bourdieu, of environmental law in India (Goa), is gendered. As per Bourdieu, the legal field is neither as neutral nor as autonomous as the legal profession asserts it is. It relies heavily on the juridical practices of universalization, appropriation, and naming or categorization in order to constantly reimagine and negotiate its own boundaries. This study examines these juridical practices including acts of symbolic violence committed in the process of ‘naming’ or ‘defining’ within legal terms extra-legal concepts, mainly environmental toponyms, such as, ‘“forest,” “CRZ” (Coastal Regulation Zone), “wildlife sanctuary,” “national park,” and “ESZ” (Eco-sensitive Zone). The dataset for analysis comprises legal judgements passed by the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court, or the Supreme Court of India, or the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on civil environmental disputes in Goa, where one of the aggrieved parties (appellant or defendant) is the Goa Foundation. A total of 17 cases met the parameters for the study. The points in each case were divided into one of 4 categories or quadrants – in court-gendered, in court-not gendered, out of court-gendered, and out of court-not gendered. The analysis of the quadrants per se did not reveal any overt evidence of gendering. One of the reasons is that the arguments and judgments in the cases do not take an ecofeminist view at all. If they did, not only would the outcome of this study be different, but so would the outcomes of some the legal cases used in this study. If the juridical field were to adopt an ecofeminist view, it would overall be more sensitive towards acknowledging the nexus between women’s issues and the environmental crises. This study endeavors to instigate further academic dialogue on the inherently gendered intersection of legal, economic, and environmental fields, and thereby influence public policy in ways that will help narrow the gender disparity evident in environmental law in India.

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