"Good drinking water instead of Coca-Cola" : elaborating ideas of development through the case of Coca-Cola in India

Kornberg, Dana Nicole
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As a potent icon of American-centered capitalism, Coca-Cola has met resistance in India that parallels shifts in the conception of the nation. First, in 1977, the company was forced to leave India in a wave of nationalist idealism that drew directly on swadeshi and viewed products like Coca-Cola as threatening and polluting. More recently, as India has undertaken neoliberal policies, the opposition has come from social movements that use science, civil society, and the law to challenge Coca-Cola on its own terms. In my thesis, I explore how the changes in this opposition are representative of changes in the way capitalism is viewed in India. While in 1977, capitalism was seen as a threatening foreign import, it is today accepted at the national level. Now, lower-level government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) challenge Coca-Cola, instead of the central government.