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Dr Ipshita Basu is a political sociologist specializing in political claims-making and policy processes for marginalised-minority groups in South Asia. This includes indigenous communities, gender, lower income and racial and ethnic minorities. She is the author of Elite Discourse Coalitions and the Governance of Smart Spaces Political Geography (2019, Vol. 68). She has co-edited the book Politics and Governance in Bangladesh: Uncertain Landscapes (Routledge, 2017).Her forthcoming book is on the Politics of Social Justification and Democracy in Jharkhand, India She led the research team on the publication of the first and influential State of Cities report (2011, BRAC and IDRC).

Ipshita is a publically engaged scholar and has worked closely with NGOs and think tanks on research projects funded by the IDRC, World Bank and UN.  She was invited to the House of Commons in January 2018 to give evidence on DFID's work on Bangladesh, Burma and Rohingya Crisis

She writes a blog on the Politics of the New Normal , covering issues of power, politics and resistance of marginal-minority communities in South Asia, UK and Europe,

Ipshita is a member of the Decolonising and Diversifying Curriculum working group at the University of Westminster where she has been working on enacting the Black Lives Matters commitments of the University.

She holds a PhD in International Development from the University of Bath (2010), an M.Res in International Development (Bath, 2004) and an M.A. in Sociology (Warwick, 2002). Previously, she was Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in International Relations at the University of Surrey (2012-2015) and Head of Research at BRAC'S Institute of Governance and Development (2010-2012). 


At Westminster she convenes the following modules:

4PIRS003W Dilemmas of International Development

5PIRS001W Nationalism and the State in the Global South

6PIRS024W Learning from NGOs in an International Context (LiNC)

Ipshita has taught at universities in UK (Bath, Warwick, Surrey), Europe (Freie University of Berlin) and Bangladesh (BRAC university). She is external examiner for the MA in International Relations at Dublin City University. 


Ipshita's research is on politics and policy processes for marginalised-minority groups in the context of neoliberal economic changes in South Asia. Her strong inter-disciplinary ethos resists classification, but if one insists she would describe herself as a political sociologist with a critical approach to mainstream theories of development, state and security. 

Her research on identity politics and policy has focused on the following issues: regional autonomy movements; political psychology of emerging/lower middle class; urban politics and informal governance in developing countries. Her theoretical and thematic expertise and  scholarly contribution sums up as follows:

Urban Politics from the Margins: Cities are melting pots of struggles over space, justice and well-being. In the cities of the developing world, the survival strategies of marginal communities (women, urban poor, minorities) change the political, social and spatial landscape of the city in multiple ways. Her effort has been to understand the nature of their struggles and find informed and creative ways of amplifying their voices in mainstream policies. This has included understanding the nature of new elite coalitions and discourses like technocratic nationalism in smart cities and digital governance, informal governance and political patronage and more recently through the politics of mobility.

Recognition Politics and the Scope for Social Justice: Her long-standing research focuses on evaluating strategies of progressive politics of recognition as it faces the dual challenge of right wing chauvinism and centrist politics. A decade ago, Ipshita's PhD thesis (forthcoming as Politics of Social Justification in Jharkhand, India) accounted for the failure of the Jharkhand Movement to deliver justice for tribal minorities by arguing that recognition politics was de-radicalised with the penetration of ethno-nationalism, capitalist expansion and reservation politics. These arguments are covered in her forthcoming book to show how normative structures of democracy and development both shape and are shaped by the struggles of indigenous/ethnic minorities.

Borders, Boundaries and (Un)belonging: Borders both real and imagined make and unmake justice claims of marginalised communities. Ipshita's research has deconstructed these acts of boundary-making at a number of levels- the Maoist rebel vs the tribal victim; the ethnic minority vs the liberal citizen. Her ongoing research discusses how India positions itself as a global power by Othering China; and looks at how narratives of pain from rural inhabitants define the porous Indo-Bangladesh border.


Principal Investigator on the Project "Urban Mobility and the Margins: Enabling an inclusive and equitable approach within South Asia’s urban mobility infrastructure" (Funded by Westminster Research Communities)


If you are interested in research on urban politics in the developing world; recognition politics in neoliberal/nationalist contexts; urban politics and policy of the marginalised/minorities; identity and borders please contact Ipshita directly with your research proposal and CV on [email protected]


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.