Swagato Sarkar


M.A. (TISS, Mumbai); M.Phil. and DPhil (Oxon)

  • +91-1304091972

Swagato Sarkar is a political sociologist. He is also trained in political theory, political economy and political anthropology. His core areas of expertise are: theory of power and the state-subaltern relationship in India.

Swagato obtained his PhD and MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, UK, and an MA from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. Apart from teaching and research, he has also managed a community food security project in the tribal areas of Odisha and produced documentary films on social issues.  

Swagato conducts research in the following areas:

  • Resource politics: politics and political economy of resource appropriation (land acquisition, mining, hydro-electric power) and people’s resistance to dispossession and displacement.
  • Anthropology of the state and micro-politics: modalities and technologies of governance and resistance at the local level
  • Newly emerging techno-mediated governance structure such as Aadhaar
  • Normative debates on social justice, human and property rights, and emancipation

Representative Publications

  • Extractive Capitalism at the Limits of Democracy  (Forthcoming book-length monograph).


Refereed Journal Articles 

  • 2014 “The Unique Identity (UID) Project, Biometrics and Re-imagining Governance in India”, Oxford Development Studies (17 June 2014)         DOI:10.1080/13600818.2014.924493
  • “Contract Farming and the McKinsey’s Plan for Transforming Agriculture into Agribusiness in West Bengal”, (Journal of South Asian Development, December 2014)
  • “Speculation in Land and the Predicament of Capitalist Urbanisation” (forthcoming in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, October 2015, issue 35, vol. 2)
  • 2012. “Between Egalitarianism and Domination: Governing Differences in a Transitional Society”, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 669-684                        
  • 2011. “The Impossibility of Just Land Acquisition”, Economic and Political Weekly, October 8, Vol xlvi, No. 41, pp.35-38
  • 2008. “Civil Society and Exclusion: Partha Chatterjee on ‘the Politics of the Governed’”, Indian Journal of Human Development, vol. 2. no. 2 (July-December)


Book Chapters 

  • 2013  ‘Between Egalitarianism and Domination: governing differences in a transitional society’ in Ravinder Kaur and Ayo Wahlberg (eds) Identity, Inequity and Inequality in India and China: Governing Difference, Routledge, New York.
  •  ‘The Unique Identity Project and the New ‘Bureaucratic Moment’ in India’ in Ashish Rajadhyaksha (ed) “In the Wake of Aadhaar: The Digital Ecosystem of Governance in India”, CSCS, Bangalore, pp. 76-99
  •  ‘The Public Distribution System’ (with Nandini Chami) in Ashish Rajadhyaksha (ed) “In the Wake of Aadhaar: The Digital Ecosystem of Governance in India”, CSCS, Bangalore. Pp. 340-352
  • 2012 “Political Society in a Capitalist World” in Ajay Gudavarthy (ed) Re-framing Democracy and Agency in India: Interrogating Political Society, Anthem Press, London, pp. 31-48


Other Publications 

Political Anthropology, Continental Political Theory, Political Economy, micro-political, agrarian studies, resource politics.