Manjusha Nair

Manjusha Nair

Manjusha Nair

Associate Professor

Globalization, Political Sociology, Comparative and Historical Sociology, Development, Labor Movements, India, China, Ethiopia, South Africa

I completed my PhD in sociology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in 2011 and joined the National University of Singapore,  as a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Sociology. After six years of teaching in Asia, I moved in Fall 2017 to the United States as a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, the largest public research university in Virginia. Currently, I am the Director of Graduate Studies in sociology, and Director of the Global South Research Hub.

The enquiry that has framed all my research so far has been the possibilities and limitations of the counter hegemonic processes that challenge neoliberal globalization in the Global South. This enquiry has placed my research projects at the intersection of political sociology, political economy, and development. While anchored in my experience of Indian postcolonial society, my explorations have reached out to study it in comparison with China and in transnational relations with Africa.  Most of my work has been to see the global social forces shaping and shaped by micro-foundations of social life and to see the global connectedness of geographies. Methodologically, I am a historical and comparative sociologist that looks for answers to the present by tracing historical processes. I generate evidence from historical sources and ethnographic research. All my projects involve field research in the Global South. I have been consistently successful in obtaining financial assistance to complete my research projects and in publishing these works in academic outlets.

In my work, I have explored a variety of topics such as labor politics and social movements, rural protests and land politics, and South-South economic flows and social relations.

My award-winning book, Undervalued Dissent: Informal Workers’ Politics in India,  published by SUNY Press in 2016, shows, systematically, how neoliberal globalization, mediated as market fundamentalism and right-wing politics in India, has weakened the ability of rural migrant workers to use democratic forms of contention, ranging from negotiations to strikes and social movements.

Undervalued Dissent: Informal Workers’ Politics in India

My research on rural protests and land politics in India and China focus on the similarities in regime responses to popular struggles, which could not be explained using regime types. This work draws on moral economy literature to suggest a new kind of politics among the dispossessed in India, based on community solidarities and often using and subverting the neoliberal market template. In my current research on Indian economic flows and social relations in Africa, I examine the alternatives provided by South-South co-operation, historically embedded in anti-colonial resistance and postcolonial collaborations, yet made relevant in the neoliberal context.

Courses Taught

Globalization, Sociology of Development, Comparative and Historical Sociology, Social Movements, Sociology of Power, Social Theory