Dr Indrajit Roy

ESRC Future Research Leader

Indrajit Roy focuses on the political sociology of transition in the global South. 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 the media
The changing face of internal circular migration in Bihar, India
India’s emerging ‘rurbans’: aspirational yet precarious

Indrajit  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.

Research Students supervised

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 (with Manali Desai) (forthcoming) 'Development discourse and popular articulations in Urban Gujarat', Critical Asian Studies
Roy, Indrajit (2016) 'Equality against hierarchy: Imagining modernity in subaltern India', Contributions to Indian Sociology 50 (1) 80-107
Roy, Indrajit (2015) 'Utopia in crisis? Subaltern imaginations in contemporary Bihar', Journal of Contemporary Asia 45 (4) 640-59
Roy, Indrajit (with Matthew Mccartney ) (2015) 'A Consensus Unravels: NREGA and the Paradox of General Welfare in India', European Journal of Development Research
Roy, Indrajit (2013) 'Development as Dignity: Dissensus, Equality and Contentious Politics in Bihar, India', Oxford Development Studies 41 (4) 517-36
Roy, Indrajit (2013) 'Contesting Consensus, Disputing Inequality: Agonistic Subjectivities in Rural Bihar', South Asia Multidisciplinary Journal
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
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
Roy, Indrajit (2005) 'Good Governance and the Dilemma of Development: What Lies Beneath?', Socio-Economic Review 3 (1) 83-116
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

Working papers

Roy, Indrajit (with S-J Cooper-Knock, C Kulzer Sacilotto) (eds) (2014) 'Focus on India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA)', QEH Working Paper Series
10 April, 2017
ODID presenting at 2017 Political Studies Association Annual Conference
06 December, 2016
Indrajit Roy wins Teaching Excellence Award
21 March, 2016
Indrajit Roy Attends OECD Meeting on Migration as Invited Expert
22 May, 2015
Indrajit Roy Writes on Caste-based Job Reservations in India for scroll.in
16 April, 2015
ODS Sanjaya Lall Prizes Awarded to Francesco Burchi, Sara Vicari, Indrajit Roy
10 February, 2015
New Blog Series: Sociology of Citizenship edited by Indrajit Roy
01 July, 2014
Oliver Owen and Indrajit Roy Win ESRC Future Research Leaders Awards
13 May, 2014
Indian Elections: A Roundup of Commentary by ODID Specialists
09 May, 2014
Indrajit Roy Examines Benefits of Proportional Representation in Indian Elections in Article for The Hindu
25 April, 2014
Indrajit Roy Writes for Hindustan Times on Secularism and the Indian Election


27 Jul, 2017
'Lessons for the Universalization of Health Care in Emerging Economies'. Indrajit Roy participates in UNRISD-organised webinar
20 Feb, 2017
'What is needed are strong regulations pertaining to wages and conditions at work, which would prevent all workers - local or migrant - from being exploited'. Indrajit Roy quoted in article for Hinudstan Times
07 Feb, 2017
'A combination of aspiration and desperation is fuelling migration in India'. Indrajit Roy interviewed by Hindustan Times
02 Dec, 2016
'Trump and Modi: birds of the same feather, but with different world views'. Indrajit Roy writes for The Conversation
27 Oct, 2016
'India’s slow-brewing political storm is steadily gathering strength'. Indrajit Roy writes for The Conversation
03 Oct, 2016
'Disenfranchised citizens, unfree labour: The social and political exclusion of India’s internal circular migrants'. Indrajit Roy writes for openDemocracy
Research interests:

Political sociology; democracy; public policy; qualitative methods in Social Sciences.