Mahuya Bandyopadhyay | Humanities & Social Sciences

Mahuya Bandyopadhyay

Mahuya Bandyopadhyay
CV Summary: 

Mahuya Bandyopadhyay has conducted fundamental research on the prison system in India, focusing on the everyday lives of prisoners. While prisons were studied from top-down managerial or problem-solving social work approaches, Bandyopadhyay's work raises larger theoretical questions on the nature and functioning of the prison as an organisation. Her work is situated at the intersections of the sociology of organisations, sociology of law, crime and punishment and gender and masculinities. Her work has been published in journals (Contributions to Indian Sociology, Men and Masculinities, Cambridge Journal of Anthropology) and in special knowledge volumes such as the Handbook on Prisons and the Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography. Her latest book, Women, Incarcerated: Narratives from India, is a co-edited volume on the lives of women prisoners and draws on conversations between academics, social work practitioners, activists and administrators. She has several years of teaching experience at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels at University of Delhi and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Contact Information

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,
MS 640-A
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
Hauz Khas, New Delhi - 110016

Research Areas

Sociology of organisations and work
Prison Studies
Ethnography of the state
Gender and masculinities
Urban neighbourhoods, violence and the carceral complex
Ethnographic methods

Academic Background

Phd (Sociology) Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
MPhil (Sociology) Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
MA (Sociology) Jawaharlal Nehru University
BA (Hons.) (Political Science) Presidency College, University of Calcutta

Employment History

2022 Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Delhi

2019 - 2022 Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Delhi

2016-2018 Professor, School of Development Studies, TISS, Mumbai

2013-2016 Associate Professor, School of Development Studies, TISS, Mumbai

2011 - 2013 - Assistant Professor (Senior Scale), Department of Sociology, Miranda House, University of Delhi

2009 - 2011 - Junior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library

2006-2009 - Assistant Professor (Senior Scale), Department of Sociology, Miranda House, University of Delhi

2003 - 2006 - Research Associate, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

2002 - 2003 - Adhoc Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

Visiting Positions:

DAAD Visiting Faculty, Institute of Ethnology, University of Munster, Summer Semester, 2016.

European Studies Programme, University of Delhi, Visiting Faculty, Aarhus University, June - July 2011.

Adjunct Visiting Faculty, Williams College, Massachusetts, Summer Semester, 2001.


Selected Publications


Women, Incarcerated: Narratives from India, (co-edited with Rimple Mehta). Orient BlackSwan, 2022.

Towards a New Sociology in India, Orient BlackSwan. 2016. (co-edited with Ritambhara Hebbar)

Everyday Life in a Prison: Confinement, Surveillance, Resistance’, Orient Blackswan, New Delhi, January 2010.

Articles in Journals and edited Books:

Narratives of Confinement, Harm and Resistance, in Bandyopadhyay, M and Mehta, R. (eds.) Women, Incarcerated: Narratives from India. New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2022.

Carceral Entrapments: Views from the Prison/Street Interface in India, Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, 2020, 38(1): 15-32.

Prison Escapes, Everyday Life and the State: Narratives of Contiguity and Disruption, in Prison Breaks: Toward a Sociology of Escape, eds. Martin, T. and Chantraine, G, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Understanding Prison Sociality: Objects, Surveillance and Everyday Life, in Doing Theory: Locations, Hierarchies and Disjunctions, eds. Chaudhuri, M and Thakur, M. Orient BlackSwan, 2018.

Migrants, Vigilantes and Violence: The Making of New Urban Spaces in Mumbai, in Migrants and the
Neo-Liberal City, ed. R. Samaddar, Orient BlackSwan, 2018. (with R. Hebbar)

Asian Prisons: Colonial Pasts, Neoliberal Futures and Subversive Sites, in Handbook on Prisons, ed. By Y. Jewkes, J. Bennet and B. Crewe, Routledge, 2016.

Deviation and Limitations of (Prison) Ethnography: Postscript to Fieldwork in an Indian Prison, in The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography, ed by D. Drake, E. Rod and J. Sloan, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015.

Sensing Prison Climates: Governance, Survival And Transition, Focaal 68: 3-17. 2014. With Andrew Jefferson and Tomas Martin.

Prison Spaces and Beyond: The Potential of Ethnographic Zoom, Criminal Justice Matters, 91 (1): 28-29. With Andrew Jefferson and Thomas Ugelvik. 2013.

Women on Campus: Negotiating Spaces and Silences, Economic and Political Weekly, December 31, 2011 (co-authored with Shadab Bano, Bijaylaxmi Nanda and Nonica Datta).

Reform and everyday practice: Some issues of prison governance, Contributions to Indian Sociology,(n.s) 41, 3 (2007): 355- 86. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Competing Masculinities in a Prison in R. Chopra ed. Muted Masculinities: Contemporary Indian Ethnographies, Men and Masculinities, (Special Issue), Vol. 9 No. 2. October 2006. Sage Publications.


Rethinking Architecture, Design and Technology of Confinement: Are Secure, Humane Environments Possible?

This ongoing project is sponsored by IIT Delhi as part of the Humanities and Social Sciences Grand Challenges Scheme, and is based on the idea that studying the physical environment is critical in thinking about possible ways of redesigning spaces to address emerging needs, to decolonise systems and combine technological innovations with indigenous perspectives. The ramifications of these questions are broad, as they seek to examine containment and confinement strategies in different kinds of circumstances and spaces in order to accommodate a rights based perspective in reimagining state controlled spaces of confinement.

Teaching Areas

Sociology of work
Sociology of organisations
Gender and Society
Qualitative Research Methods
Urban Anthropology
Economic Sociology