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Dr Indrajit Roy

ESRC Future Research Leader

Indrajit Roy studies democratic deepening and societal transitions in the Global South. His broad research interests lie in studying the emergence and effects of democratic institutions, the connections between political change and social transformation, and South Asian politics. While his previous research examines the influence of social relations of power and government policy on democratic deepening, he currently focuses on the role of ideas and identities in shaping the diverse trajectories of political change and concomitant processes of social transformation. Future research plans include the investigation of historical-political processes of class-formation, state-formation and democratisation to explain the choice of government responses to economic, social and spatial inequalities in the Rising Powers and other emerging markets.

Indrajit’s monograph The Politics of the Poor: Negotiating Democracy in Contemporary India is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. In the book, he investigates poor people’s negotiations- the complex of requests, appeals, claims, threats and other assorted provisional transactions- with politicians, bureaucrats and dominant classes. As ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow, he is currently working on his second book manuscript Fragmented Transitions, Negotiated Modernities: Mobility, Growth and Democracy in the Global South. This manuscript is based on his research on the political ideas and identities conveyed by circular labour migrants and the implications of these ideas on economic growth, political democracy and anticipated transitions to modernity. 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 is a member of the Effective States Inclusive Development Research programme, a collaborative program 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. He has received funding from the International Growth Center as well as the Somerville India Center for his research. Indrajit has published with the Journal of Peasant Studies, World Development, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Economic and Political Weekly and Oxford Development Studies. He is also curating a blog series titled ‘Sociology of Citizenship’ for the Politics in Spires/Debating Developments blogs.

Indarjit  teaches on the MPhil in Development Studies and the MSc in Migration Studies at ODID. He also teaches on the MSc in Contemporary India

He convenes and lectures on the module 'Politics of the Poor' for MPhil second year students. He designed and initiated this module in 2013. Since then, it has remained one of the popular courses in the department.

In 2011-12, he lectured on 'Globalisation, Governance and Development' for the MA in International Development at the University of Warwick.

In the past, he has taught on the MPhil Core Course and the Foundation Course on History and Politics of the Developing World at ODID, acting as the co-convener for the latter in 2011.

He also tutors Oxford undergraduate students who choose the Contemporary Politics of South Asia option.

Books and Monographs

Roy, Indrajit (forthcoming) Politics of the Poor: Negotiating Democracy in Contemporary India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Monograph)

Journal Articles and Special Issues

Roy, Indrajit (2016) 'Equality against hierarchy: Imagining modernity in subaltern India', Contributions to Indian Sociology 50 (1) : 80-107 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (with Manali Desai) (forthcoming) 'Development discourse and popular articulations in Urban Gujarat', Critical Asian Studies

Roy, Indrajit (2015) 'Utopia in crisis? Subaltern imaginations in contemporary Bihar', Journal of Contemporary Asia 45 (4): 640-59 (Download from external site)

Roy, Indrajit (with Matthew Mccartney ) (2015) 'A Consensus Unravels: NREGA and the Paradox of General Welfare in India', European Journal of Development Research (Download from external site)

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 the Society for International Development 46 (1)

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

Roy, Indrajit (with JJ Roy-Burman and Rajib Das) (2000) 'Whither Gram Sabhas: The prospects for agricultural markets for self-reliance in rural India', Journal of Anthropological Society 35: 207-19


Roy, Indrajit (forthcoming) 'Sanskritisation: North Bihar in comparative perspective'. In Surinder Jodhka, James Manor (eds) Assessing Caste, Orient Blackswan

Roy, Indrajit (2015) '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 (2015) 'Political settlements and social protection: The case of India's NREGA', SID Working Paper 46 (Download from external site)

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.

Personal Website

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