Geeta Sinha

  • Geeta Sinha

    Geeta Sinha is originally from India. She joined Oxford Brookes in October 2016 and the title of her thesis is ‘Mining led Industrialisation and gender-based violence within indigenous communities of Odisha, India’.

    How did you hear about Oxford Brookes University?

    I heard about Oxford Brookes University from my friend and was impressed with its academic infrastructure and student support.

    What attracted you to Oxford Brookes University to conduct your research?

    Research funding and the research expertise of my supervisors attracted me to Oxford Brookes University.

    What were you doing before?

    I worked for 18 years as a development professional in various research-led consulting firms and non-governmental organisations. I worked as a consultant to various government, non-government organisations and corporate bodies in many states of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. My areas of consultancy include; agribusiness promotion, Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) based enterprise development, women empowerment and livelihood promotion, education, rural marketing and vocational skills development. During this period, I published book chapters and articles in different international journals.

    How easy did you find it to settle into the research environment?

    Since I had done my masters in the UK, I was quite aware of the research environment, so it was not that difficult to settle down. My supervisors and research group are a great source of support. Various research activities, seminars, training programmes and events organised by the Business School creates an atmosphere of academic culture which is very helpful. Regular supervision from my supervisors is the biggest asset of my PhD studentship. Library resources and other academic infrastructure help me immensely in my research work.

    Tell us about your research.

    The title of my research is “Mining led Industrialisation and gender-based violence within indigenous communities of Odisha, India”. The overall aim of this research is to examine and understand the inter-relationship between mining led industrialisation and growth of violence among indigenous communities (particularly women) in India, through an eco-socialist and feminist theoretical framework, and empirical evidence.

    The path to development of Indian economy is perceived through large scale industrialisation. This approach, designed to eradicate poverty and debt, paradoxically targeted elite and urban sections of India with residual impact on rural and tribal population. The study focuses on the issues and transitions in gender relationships and gender roles of the tribal communities, particularly women, who are more vulnerable in the process of mining led industrialisation. The mining projects in the name of development are not only a threat to environment and livelihoods but also a predicament to the status of the tribal women. 

    This research focuses on how the current industrialisation process not only has been violating all environmental and other regulations of the government in the form of deforestation, mining, displacement by its own institutional set ups, but it has also been contributing to strengthening patriarchal relations among the tribal communities; a phenomenon which is less noticed. This research will analyse the encounters and social structural changes through mining induced displacement where the position of women in tribal societies is threatened. Largely, due to the fact that employment in mining industry is predominantly male, tribal women are not only rendered unemployed, but they are also getting marginalised in the communities, losing access to livelihoods due to changes in the land use patterns, displacement and deforestation.  This research intends to explore, understand and analyse the transformations within indigenous societies caused by mining led industrialisation and the growth of a patriarchal culture of violence. 

    The research is based on qualitative multi-method case study of the Sundargarh district of Odisha, India. Sundargarh is one of the districts with high concentration of tribal population and has attracted several mining industries like coal, iron ore, bauxite and manganese. Multi-method case study research, rooted in critical realist paradigm, has been adopted for this research. 

    What do you enjoy about being a research student?

    The interdisciplinary research environment at Oxford Brookes University helps me as a researcher. I have been able to learn about different research skills from my fellow researchers. I have been able to make friends from various countries, which helps cross-cultural learning and keeps me excited.

    British weather is the biggest challenge for me. Initially it did affect me a lot, but with time, I have been able to cope with it. 

    What do you think about the research training offered at Oxford Brookes?

    The research training is beneficial for me since I am returning to academic research after a long gap. It brushes up on the skills required for academic research. It is well designed for a researcher and keeps a person updated on latest research methods and analysis techniques.

    What are your future plans?

    I wish to complete my PhD within stipulated time. I will continue to publish REFable articles in the ABS list of journals and teach in different areas of development economics by keeping social goals in mind.