Publications | Humanities & Social Sciences


Discipline wise list of recent selected publications

A Nobel for the idea of well-being

Much of the work by Angus Deaton, the winner of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, has been focussed on measurement issues. He has questioned the quality of data collected in large surveys and suggested ways of improving the surveys. He has also thought very hard about how these data could or could not be used, how to reduce measurement errors, and what inferences one can, or cannot, draw from data that might suffer from measurement errors.

Food Security

Food security: Bihar on the move
Bihar's public distribution system used to be one of the worst in India, but the system has improved significantly from 2011 onwards. The National Food Security Act, backed early on by the political leadership, enabled the state to include the bulk of the rural population in this improved system. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring that the system is reliable, transparent and corruption-free.

Tackling India’s 'bare branches'

Both China and India have recently been in the global eye for their adverse sex ratios. China’s one-child policy has landed it in dire straits with almost 19 extra boys for every girl with the future implication that there would be close to 30 million excess males by 2020. India is in somewhat better shape with around 13 extra boys per girl. While India’s overall figure of excess males in the marriage market would not be quite as worrisome as China’s, the concentration of these males in the North and northwestern regions of India raises similar concerns.

Brides for India’s North

An interview about cross-regional marriage migration with Ravinder Kaur.

As marriage remains a social obligation in Indian society, desperation has led to an increasing number of cross-regional and cross- cultural marriages which challenge the rigid marriage systems and the notion of caste. States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are particularly affected by a lack of women, and in the last decades informal networks have facilitated the migration of brides from eastern and southern parts of the country to these northern states.

Eggs And Prejudice

Child nutrition is prime-time news only when a tragedy occurs. Child undernutrition is no less a tragedy but rarely recognised as such.

Attention to it, following the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s rejection of a proposal to introduce eggs in anganwadis is significant and welcome.

In Conversation with Hans Joas

Interviewed by Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo

Hans Joas, a German sociologist and social theorist, is Permanent Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, where he also belongs to the influential interdisciplinary Committee on Social Thought. In conversation with Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo, Joas explains how he got into the discipline of Sociology and what has motivated him all these years.

Understanding Leakages in the PDS

In this note, we present updated estimates of PDS leakages using the latest data available — not only from the NSS but also from the IHDS surveys and related sources. For the first time, a relatively clear picture emerges. The decline is particularly clear in states that are known to have undertaken serious PDS reforms, confirming the effectiveness of these reforms
The decline is particularly clear in states that are known to have undertaken serious PDS reforms, confirming the effectiveness of these reforms

Elusive Empowerment: Price Information and Disintermediation in Soybean Markets in Malwa, India

Lack of information and multiple intermediaries have been seen as major obstacles preventing farmers from obtaining a higher price for their produce. Thus, providing information on market prices to farmers and removing intermediaries from the supply chain, have often been considered means to empower farmers. This article argues that intermediaries are integral to any market exchange and notions of disintermediation mask processes that are replacing one form of intermediation by another, usually a corporatized or more vertically integrated one.

Explaining the ‘jobless’ growth in Indian manufacturing

In Indian manufacturing, which accounts for only 12.2% of the country’s workforce, a few technologically advanced sectors coexist with a vast informal sector. The growth of Indian manufacturing is characterized by ‘joblessness’, and during the post-1991 years, by large yearly and industry-wise variations. While a few capital- and skill-intensive industries recorded fast rates of growth of value added, employment generation occurred largely in the unorganized sector, mainly in export-oriented industries such as garments and textiles.

Intimate gifts and ‘bad’ deaths: Reflections on organ transplants, state and society in Gujarat

Discursive strategies around organ donation in India, as elsewhere, are bio-medical as well as religio-moral in nature. Given that cadaver transplants remain a largely untapped resource in India, this paper is concerned with the relative medical success and social acceptance of this mode of transplant among certain communities in contemporary Gujarat. Why is Gujarat a privileged site for this ethnography?