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Dr Indrajit Roy

ESRC Future Research Leader

Indrajit Roy focuses on the political sociology of transition in the Global South. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of sociology, politics and public policy in a comparative perspective. Indrajit’s monograph The Politics of the Poor: Negotiating Democracy in Eastern India is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. The monograph probes the manner in which the design of public policy shapes poor people’s political negotiations and the ways in which its implementation is shaped in turn by such negotiations.

As an ESRC Future Research Leader, Indrajit studies the political ideas, identities and practices of circular labour migrants in India. The empirical focus on labour migration provides him with a window to explore analytical issues pertaining to agrarian change and urban transformations, citizenship and other forms of membership in the political community, public policy based on the assumption of sedentary populations, and cosmopolitanism and modernity.

Indrajit has published with the Journal of Peasant Studies, World Development, Contemporary South Asia, Economic and Political Weekly and Oxford Development Studies. He is a member of the Effective States Inclusive Development Research programme, based at the University of Manchester. He also contributes to the ESRC/ ERC-funded Democratic Cultures of South Asia research consortium, based at University College London. Indrajit is presently curating a blog series titled ‘Sociology of Citizenship’ for the Politics in Spires/Debating Developments blogs.

In the long term, he proposes to research social and political transformations in a comparative perspective, with a focus on the comparative political sociology of India, Brazil and South Africa.

Indrajit completed his first degree in History from Delhi University, and worked for several years as a development practitioner.

In 2013, Indrajit designed and convened the Optional Module ‘Politics of the Poor’ for MPhil Year 2 students. In the past, he has taught on the MPhil Core Course and the Foundation Course on History and Politics of the Developing World, acting as the co-convener for the latter in 2011. He tutors Oxford undergraduate students taking the Contemporary Politics of South Asia option. In 2011-12, he was Lecturer on the Globalisation, Governance and Development course at the University of Warwick’s Politics and International Studies Department.

Journal Articles and Special Issues

Roy, Indrajit (2014) 'Reserve Labor, Unreserved Politics: Dignified Encroachments under India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme', Journal of Peasant Studies 14 (4): 517-45 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (2013) 'Development as Dignity: Dissensus, Equality and Contentious Politics in Bihar, India', Oxford Development Studies 41 (4): 517-36 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (2013) 'Contesting Consensus, Disputing Inequality: Agonistic Subjectivities in Rural Bihar', South Asia Multidisciplinary Journal (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (2011) 'New Lists for Old: (Re-)constructing the Poor in the BPL Census', Economic and Political Weekly 46 (22): 82-91

Roy, Indrajit (2008) 'Civil Society and Governance: (Re-)conceptualizing the Interface', World Development 36 (4): 677-705 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (2006) 'Representation and Development in Urban Peripheries: Reflections on Governance in Ahmedabad Surburbs', Economic and Political Weekly 41 (41)

Roy, Indrajit (with U Pradhan) (2006) 'Pluralism and Civil Society Partnerships: Perspectives from South Asia', Contemporary South Asia 15 (1): 55-74 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (2005) 'Good Governance and the Dilemma of Development: What Lies Beneath?', Socio-Economic Review 3 (1): 83-116 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (2003) 'Penury Amid Plenty', Himal 16 (7)

Roy, Indrajit (2003) 'Development and its Discontents: Civil Society as the New Lexicon', Development: Journal of Society for International Development 46 (1)

Roy, Indrajit (2002) 'Community, Organization and Representation: Implications for Development', Economic and Political Weekly 37 (35)


Roy, Indrajit (forthcoming) 'Transformative politics: The imaginary of the Mulnibasi in West Bengal'. In Uday Chandra, Geier Heierstad and Kenneth Bo Nielsen (eds) Caste in West Bengal, London: Routledge

Roy, Indrajit (2014) 'Flaunted Transcripts: Shaming Elites and Interrogating Domination'. In Jonathan Parry, Nandini Gooptu (eds) Poverty in India, Social Sciences Press

Other Publications

Roy, Indrajit (with S-J Cooper-Knock, C Kulzer Sacilotto) (eds) (2014) 'Focus on India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA)', QEH Working Paper Series (Download from external site)


+44 (1865) 281939

Political sociology; Democracy Public Policy; Qualitative methods in Social Sciences.

International Development: increasing well-being and reducing inequality in global society