John Harriss

John Harriss

Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

PhD, University of East Anglia

Mackintosh-Corry Hall, B411

Queen's University

Department of Global Development Studies


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Much of my research has been underpinned by an interest in the political economy of development.  One expression of this is in my comparative work on the politics of development across India’s major states, and in recent writing on the political economy of development in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. But my research has ranged widely, from an early but still continuing interest in agricultural development and agrarian change, and a little later in labour studies, to more recent work on civil society and democratic politics, and on social policy. These came together in a study, carried on with Indian and Scandinavian scholars, on the possibilities of the renewal of social democratic development. Most of my research has been focused on India, though I have also worked in Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico, as well as in the other South Asian countries. Current project: writing a new book on Indian politics and society.

Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

Cross Appointed to the Department of Global Development Studies and Cultural Studies

1982  Capitalism and Peasant Farming: Agrarian Structure and Ideology in Northern Tamil Nadu. Bombay: Oxford University Press

1982 Rural Development: Theories of Peasant Economy and Agrarian Change. London: Hutchinson Education (and later editions)

2000 (with Stuart Corbridge) Reinventing India; Economic Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press

2001 Depoliticizing Development: the World Bank and Social Capital. London: Anthem Press

2013 (with Stuart Corbridge and Craig Jeffrey) India Today: Economy, Politics and Society. Cambridge: Polity Press

2016 (with Olle Tornquist) Reinventing Social Democratic Development. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Journal Articles

1986 ‘The Working Poor and the Labour Aristocracy in a South Indian City:  a descriptive and analytical account’, Modern Asian Studies, 20, 2 pps 231-284. [reprinted in an Oxford Reader, Urban Studies edited by Sujata Patel and S Deb, Oxford University Press, 2007]

1999 ‘Comparing Political Regimes Across Indian States’, Economic and Political Weekly, vol XXXIV, no 48, pps 3367-3377

2002  ‘The Case for Cross-Disciplinary Approaches in International Development’, World Development, 30, 3 pp 487-496

2003 ‘The Great Tradition Globalizes: reflections on two studies of “the industrial leaders” of Madras’, Modern Asian Studies. April 2003 [reprinted in Knut A Jacobsen (ed) Modern Indian Culture and Society. London & New York: Routledge, 2009]

2003 ‘”Widening the Radius of Trust”: Ethnographic Explorations of Trust and Indian Business’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol 9, no 4, pp 755-773

2006   ‘Middle Class Activism and the Politics of the Informal Working Class: A Perspective on Class Relations and Civil Society in Indian Cities’. Critical Asian Studies 38, 4, pp 445-465

2013  ‘Does ‘Landlordism’ Still Matter? Reflections on Agrarian Change in India’, Journal of Agrarian Change, 13 (3): 351-64

Book Chapters

2001 ‘Introduction: the Anthropology of the Indian State’, in, V Benei and C J Fuller, eds, The Everyday State and Society in Modern India. Delhi: Social Science Publishers and London: Hurst & Co. (with C J Fuller)

2008 ‘Explaining Economic Change: The Relations of Politics, Institutions and Culture’, in Alexander Ebner and Nikolaus Beck, editors, The Institutions of the Market: Organizations, Social Systems and Governance. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

2009 ‘Bringing Politics Back Into Poverty Analysis: Why Understanding of Social relations Matters More for Policy on Chronic Poverty than Measurement’, in T Addison, D Hulme and R Kanbur (eds) Poverty Dynamics.  Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

2018  ‘Business and Politics: The Tamil Nadu Puzzle’, in C Jaffrelot, A Kohli and K Murali (eds) Business and Politics in India. New York: Oxford University Press