Radically Networked Societies: The case of the farmers’ protests in India
This paper analyses India’s ongoing farmer protests movement through the lens of the Radically Networked Societies (RNS) framework. Building on prior RNS-based case studies, the paper contends that this movement is marked by a combination of allied and opposing RNS groups. These RNS groups are characterised by the existence of overlapping identities operating across a mix of existing and instantaneous networks coalescing around their respective common causes of opposing the three farm laws enacted by the Union government and opposing this opposition itself. The ensuing interactions result in amplifying and sustaining adjacent and opposite RNS groups. The paper concludes that the hitherto weak bonds underlying spontaneous networked movements will be supported by hardening ties based on political identities that also transcend international boundaries. This can result in sharper responses by states which may be tempered by international pressure or scrutiny in the short term. Alternatively, an increasing number of protest movements for extended periods could lead to a flattening of responses and waning levels of attention.