Dead or Alive? Odishan and Appalachian Mountains as Partners in Activism

Annapurna Devi Pandey, Ann E. Kingsolver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mountains may be simultaneously viewed through multiple logics—sacred or secular, dead property to be commodified or living and powerful community members, for example—unless and until one of those logics is used to destroy them. We compare the way these logics figure in environmental justice movements in Odisha, India and the Appalachian region of the United States. In the first example, mountains—considered sacred and alive—have served as partners in a successful movement by Dongaria Kondh women in Odisha to stop the destruction of the Niyamgiri hills through aluminium mining. In the second example, while there are competing logics that include views of mountains as sacred in the United States, a capitalist logic through which mountains are considered dead and without a role in acting on their own future has prevailed in extensive coal mining through the destructive method of mountaintop removal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-254
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Indian Sociological Society.


  • Appalachia
  • Mountains
  • Odisha
  • religion
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)


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