Shalini Randeria

Phone: +43-1-313-58-203

Shalini Randeria is the Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna, Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, as well as the Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the IHEID. Furthermore, she holds the Excellence Chair at the University of Bremen, where she leads a research group on Soft Authoritarianism and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She is currently a member of the Editorial Boards of Public Anthropologist and of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the journal Comparative Migration Studies and the Scientific Committee of the Department for European Policy and the Study of Democracy (DED), Danube University. She serves on the Board of European Forum Alpbach, the Board of Trustees of the Central European University (CEU), the Academic Advisory Board of the Wien Museum as well as the Advisory Board of the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalization, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities.

Her recent publications include the edited volume Social Science at the Crossroads, Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2019 (co-edited with Björn Wittrock); “Anthropological Perspectives on the Limits of the State”, in Anke Draude, Tanja A. Börzel, and Thomas Risse, eds., The Oxford Handbook on Governance and Limited Statehood, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 68-88 (with Andrew Brandel); “Locations and Locutions: Unravelling the concept of ‘World Anthropology’”, in Laurence Roulleau-Berger and Pellin Li, eds., Post-Western Sociology. From China to Europe. Ocxon/New York: Routledge, 2018, 88-105 (with Andrew Brandel and Veena Das).

[Complete CV]
[Complete List of Publications]

Fields of Research:

  • Anthropology of law: transnationalisation of law; legal pluralism; informal justice/non-state institutions in the area of family law
  • Anthropology of globalization and development
  • Anthropology of state and public policy: reproductive rights, population policy and gender, environmental justice, displacement, privatization of common property resources
  • Civil society, social movements and NGOs
  • Multiple modernities and post-coloniality
  • Regional Focus: South Asia

Selected Publications:

Der Corona-Impfstoff zwischen geostrategischem Instrument und globalem öffentlichen Gut, in: Bernd Kortmann / Günther G. Schulze (Hg.): Jenseits von Corona. Unsere Welt nach der Pandemie – Perspektiven aus der Wissenschaft, Bielefeld: transcript, 71-80, 2020.

Unfreezing Unspent Social Special-Purpose Funds for the Covid-19 Crisis: Critical Reflections from India (with Deval Desai), in: World Development, Volume 136, Elsevier, December 2020.

Emergency Use of Public Funds: Implications for Democratic Governance (with Deval Desai and Christine Lutringer), in: Global Challenges, Special Issue “Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic”, No. 1, June 2020.

Taking Monsanto to Court: Legal Activism Around Intellectual Property in Brazil and India (with Karine Peschard), in: The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI, 2020. 

‘Keeping Seeds in Our Hands’: the Rise of Seed Activism (with Karine Peschard), in: The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI, 2020. 

Varieties of Voice: Ballot Box, Courts and Streets, in: Luca Meldolesi / Nicole ĴaStame (eds.): A Bias for Hope (Second Conference on Albert Hirschman’s Legacy, World Bank, Washington DC, October 25-26, 2017), Rom: Italic Digital Editions S.R.L., 2019, Pp. 226-240.

Exclusion as a Liberal Imperative: Culture, Gender, and the Orientalization of Migration (with Evangelos Karagiannis), in: Bachmann-Medick, Doris/ Kugele, Jens (eds.): Migration: Changing Concepts, Critical Approaches (Concepts for the Study of Culture, Vol. 7), Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 229-252, 2018.

Migration and Borders of Citizenship (with Ravi Palat), special issue of Refugee Watch. A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration, 2017.

Tensions of Refugee Politics in Europe (with Randall Hansen), in: Science, 353 (6303), 994-995, 2016.

Border Crossings: Grenzverschiebungen und Grenzüberschreitungen in einer globalisierten Welt, Zürich: Vdf Hochschulverlag, 2016

(Neo-)Koloniale Diskurse – Postkoloniale Gegendiskurse (with María do Mar Castro Varela and Nikita Dhawan), in: Diskursanalyse des (Post)Kolonialismus. Weinheim/Basel: Beltz Juventa / Zeitschrift für Diskursforschung Heft 3, Pp. 222-240, 2016.

Zwischen Begeisterung & Unbehagen – Ein anthropologischer Blick auf den Begriff der Kultur (with Evangelos Karagiannis), in: Sybille de la Rosa, Sophia Schubert, Holger Zapf (ed.) Transkulturelle politische Theorie – Eine Einführung (Trans- und interkulturelle Politische Theorie und Ideengeschichte), Wiesbaden: Springer Verlag, Pp. 63-83, 2016.

Politics of the Urban Poor: Aesthetics, Ethics, Volatility, Precarity. An Introduction to Supplement 11 (with Veena Das), in: Politics of the Urban Poor, Current Anthropology, Special Issue (commisioned volume), Vol. 56, No. 11, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, Pp. 3-14, 2015.

Social Sciences and Public Debates: The Case of India (with Veena Das), in: Socio, Dossier: Inventer les sciences sociales postoccidentales (expanded version of Das and Randeria, 2014) No. 5, Pp. 81-98, 2015.

Anthropology, Now and Next: Diversity, Connections, Confrontations, Reflexivity (co-edited with Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Christina Garsten), New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015.

Jenseits des Eurozentrismus: Postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften (gemeinsam herausgegeben mit Sebastian Conrad und Regina Römhild), Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag, 2014 (2. erweiterte Edition).

Critical Mobilities (co-edited with Ola Soderstrom, Didier Ruedin, Gianni D’Amato and Francesco Panese), Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.

Further Reading:

Conference Report:

Former IWM Rectors:

Cornelia Klinger, Acting Rector
Michael J. Sandel, Acting Rector

Krzysztof Michalski, Founding Rector


Jenseits von Corona Unsere Welt nach der Pandemie – Perspektiven aus der Wissenschaft

Bernd Kortmann / Günther G. Schulze (Hg.) Die Corona-Pandemie hat unser aller Leben einschneidend verändert. Wir sind Zeugen eines multiplen Systemschocks – Schwächen und Verwundbarkeiten wurden auf vielen Ebenen bloßgelegt. Was bleibt von der Krise und ihren tief greifenden Veränderungen? Stellt sie eine Zeitenwende dar oder ist sie nur eine Delle in langfristigen Trendlinien? Wie …
Read more

Shalini Randeria:
Die Corona-Krise wäre eine Chance, unseren Lebensstil umzugestalten

July 10, 2020
Auf der Erde leben immer mehr Menschen - aber nicht zu viele, findet Shalini Randeria. Die Soziologin und Rektorin des IWM erklärt, warum eine Kombination aus mehr Menschen und mehr Wohlstand nicht unbedingt dem Klima schaden muss.
Read more

Ivan Krastev, Shalini Randeria:
The Paradoxes of a Post-Covid-19 World

July 3, 2020
IWM Rector Shalini Randeria in conversation with IWM Permanent Fellow Ivan Krastev on the paradoxical world and new power dynamics emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.
Read more

Shalini Randeria, Luke Cooper, Mary Kaldor et al.:
The New Authoritarianism: COVID-19 and the Challenges Facing Democracy

June 24, 2020
Over the last decade political authoritarianism has been on the rise across the globe. The ‘authoritarian wave’ has touched most continents and regions. So even before the crisis unleashed by Coronavirus many peoples across the world were resisting rising authoritarianism, nationalism and racism. Listen to the podcast or watch the video of this LSE online event, in which, among others, IWM Rector Shalini Randeria and former Visiting Fellows Mary Kaldor (chair) and Luke Cooper discussed the results of a new report, that surveys the rise of anti-democratic forces and assesses their reaction to these extraordinary recent developments.
Read more

Shalini Randeria:
Production of Spatial Entanglements through Law

June 12, 2020
On the occasion of the Second International Conference of the SFB 1265 entitled "Polycontextural Spatial Arrangements" in February 2020, IWM Rector Shalini Randeria gave a talk on the "Production of Spatial Entanglements through Law". This video includes statements by her and other participants of the conference such as Hubert Knoblauch, Joyce Nyairo, Jörg Stollmann and Albena Yaneva.
Read more

Shalini Randeria:
Armes reiches Indien

Shalini Randeria
12. Mai 2020
IWM Rektorin Shalini Randeria spricht über den Zustand ihres Landes in Zeiten von Corona und darüber hinaus.
Read more

Shalini Randeria:
Defending Press Freedom in the Time of Coronavirus

April 30, 2020
The coronavirus crisis has provided a welcome pretext for soft authoritarian regimes the world over to strengthen their hold on power, with their declared states of exception potentially becoming the new normal, says IWM Rector Shalini Randeria.
Read more

Shalini Randeria:
Darf der Corona-Impfstoff patentiert werden?

April 27, 2020
Die Pandemie mache weltweite Ungleichheit sichtbar, sagt IWM Rektorin Shalini Randeria im Zeit-Interview mit Elisabeth von Thadden. Medikamente wie öffentliche Güter zu behandeln könnte die Lage entschärfen.
Read more

IWM Rektorin Shalini Randeria im Die Zeit-Portrait

Globalisierung - Die Heimatlose: "Durch Corona sind plötzlich Sachen politisch möglich geworden, die Umweltaktivisten seit Jahrzehnten fordern. Die Frage ist, wie nachhaltig diese Änderungen sein werden.", Shalini Randeria.
Read more

Social Science at the Crossroads

The 38th World Congress of IIS addressed some of the most fundamental issues of sociological inquiry in light of global processes and the development of different fields of knowledge: What does it mean to be human? What is the nature of social as opposed to natural processes? How do efforts to map the social and …
Read more


  • Scales of Justice and Legal Pluralism

    This research project addresses the ambivalences of juridification, which parallel a judicialisation of politics at various scales along with growing legal activism and a judicialisation of politics from the local to the global scale.
    Read more