Below are Prof. Butola's responses as sent to us via email:
Out of the two approaches I mentioned in my presentation i.e. the political economy and the political ecology approaches I think the political ecology approach is not only relevant but also desirable mainly on account of the following reasons:
The societies in the developing world, particularly China and India, are mainly political partners in the processes of modernisation without being historical partners, meaning thereby modernisation in these countries was introduced through their incorporation in the world market, whereby the then existing social contract were abruptly broken and replaced by economic contractual and market relations. This led to new forms of spatial and social relations. Some of the main manifestations of these were, as I mentioned, dematerialisation and metabolic rift.
These simply stand for the disruptions that took place between the environment and society, for example the hydraulic societies, and the self sufficient village societies in the Orient were replaced by the proletarian reserves for the trading companies. Similarly the environment which stood for self sufficiency and self reliance was replaced by spatial dependencies. Urban centres became the users and exporters of whatever was produced in the rural sectors and, in the process, became consumers of the products produced elsewhere. Today the urban centre has become the focal points of standarisation of cultures and tastes etc leading to the elimination of cultures that have made India and China were so rich and vivid.