Funded Projects

Among the different research areas that CSH is spotlighting, a certain number of budgeted projects implying top scholars and institutions around the world have been entrusted with its expertise. These projects have in common to contribute to an in-depth comprehension of the contemporary stakes of India and other emerging countries’ development. Please see the list below, with the linked full description of each project:

Taking stock of electoral innovations at the local level, 1993-2023: In India’s federalism, local elections are a state subject, therefore the rules governing local elections may vary from one state to another. While there is no doubt that several political experiments have taken place regarding local elections, we know very little about them because these innovations are highly dispersed across Indian states; they are sometimes short-lived; and they most often go under the radar of national news media. This project aims at (i) documenting the electoral reform process in seven major Indian states, characterized by the great diversity of objectives, procedural paths, and actors involved; and (ii) mapping the different conceptions of political representation that underlie, implicitly or explicitly, the many reforms.

Co-funded by the Max Weber Forum, South Asia, and the LabEx TEPSIS, this project has been implemented at CSH since 2022. A dataset of amendments to the Panchayati Raj Act and the Municipalities Act in each state was built; seven field trips were done in order to conduct a series of interviews in each state under study; and a dataset of court cases around local electoral reforms is currently under construction.

Head researcher: Stéphanie Tawa Lama.

Research assistant: Deshdeep Dhankhar

Gender Inequalities in Higher Education and Scientific Careers: Examples from Engineering and Medicine in India: This project, led by the CSH, has been selected by the “Women and Science” Chair of the University of Paris Dauphine-PSL. Led by Prof Odile Henry (CSH and University of Paris 8), the project is being conducted by Prof Pradeep Kumar Choudhury (Assistant Professor of Economics, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU, Delhi), Prof Seema Singh (Associate Professor in Economics & Head, Department of Humanities, Delhi Technological University, Delhi) and Dr Aprajita Sarcar, postdoctoral researcher at the Laureate Centre for History and Population, University of New South Wales, Australia).

Head researcher involved: Prof. Odile Henry

Palanpur Survey 2022: Palanpur surveys are a unique example of the interdisciplinary nature of social sciences at the CSH. Palanpur is a small village in the Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh and has been surveyed every decade since independence starting in the 1950s. The last two surveys of the village in 2008-10 and 2015 were organised with CSH as the base. Both research projects were funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and hosted jointly with the London School of Economics. It was a collaborative research project with research scholars from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indian Statistical Institute and Ambedkar University, Delhi. Since 2007, CSH has been the physical and intellectual base of the surveys with another survey organised in 2022.

Head researcher involved: Himanshu

Wealth Inequality and Elites in India: Who are the wealthy Indians? What kinds of wealth do they own? How many of them are there? Have their numbers been expanding or shrinking over time? What have been the sources of their wealth creation? What kind of social backgrounds do they come from? Have they become more diverse over time in terms of their social or ethnic background? Part of a broader comparative study on the subject and funded through the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, the project proposes to look at the processes that produce, expand/dissolve and reproduce the extreme concentration of wealth (or extreme ownership of assets) in the context of the institutional and social structures in India.

Head researcher involved: Surinder S. Jodhka and Vamsi Vakulabharanam

Challenging Inequalities (CHALLINEQ): This multidisciplinary research project, which involves academic institutions from France, the UK, Norway and India, analyses the challenges that inequality in the human condition poses to both India and Europe. One of the issues examined by the project is that of the very meaning of the notion of inequality when it concerns multiple and not easily measurable attributes such as health, education, opportunities, wealth, and income that intersect with each other.  The project also examines the issue of the perceived “acceptability” and  “legitimacy” of those various inequalities. Last, but not least, it conducts a few empirical studies (in various parts of India as well as in Europe) that examine the comparative evolution of those inequalities.

Head researchers involved: Nicolas Gravel, Olivier Telle

Ecomore2: where CSH is implied by the intermediary of Olivier Telle. This project, funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) aims to elaborate new strategies for public health policies in South East Asia (Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam), based on a multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers from around the world. Emergent diseases are especially targeted, to understand better their dynamics, in the context of climate change and fast-paced urbanization A strong effort is put into training agents on the field in the respective countries. The operational dimension of this project is also strengthened by a tight cooperation with local stakeholders that has been set up, notably through the successful first version of the project.

Head researcher involved: Olivier Telle

PICS Urb India: The main object of this collaboration is to create a database combining data on cities dispersed between Geographie-cités and the Center for Policy Research. The open up of this big multivariate and extremely detailed set of data constitutes a unique window of opportunity to embark into a fundamental dynamic of research and be able to respond to many innovative questions linked with the urbanization of the world such as urban transformation and access to infrastructures, socio-spatial inequalities and spread of infectious diseases and other health threats.
It helped to finance an International R School at JNU co-organized by CSH.

Head researcher involved: Olivier Telle

Intermediary Actors of Politics in India (IAPI): This project, supported by the Alembert Fund, intends to examine the pivotal role of political mediators in the conduct of Indian democracy. By organizing seven research-related events on often unaccounted political intermediaries in contemporary India, we would like to trigger argumentative public debates and garner academic and expert insights on the way this range of actors helps the democratic machine function. Their contribution sustains and transforms representative democracy, notably through fostering participation, pluralism, youthfulness, and renewed political imaginations of India. In addition to publication outputs, the project will lead to the creation of an international network of partner institutions in which the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) will assume the leading role.

Head researchers involved: Julien Levesque, Jean-Thomas Martelli

IndiaMilk (Indian dairy systems facing local and global challenges): The general objective of this project, supported by Agropolis Foundation, is to understand the undergoing transformation of Indian dairy systems –as a whole and in its diversity– and to assess to which extent it represents a sustainable development model, able to address jointly food security, social inclusion and environmental issues. More specifically, we intend to come up with answers to the following questions: Who are the Indian dairy farmers and what are their practices? What are the extent and consequences for the ecosystems of the decline in multi-functional livestock and dairy intensification? What conditions are required for the rural poor to really benefit from the dairy development? How is milk production part of the broader biophysical and economic development trajectory of the Indian subcontinent, and how sustainable is it in this modernization context? To achieve this objective, an original multidisciplinary, multi-scalar, and long-term perspective approach is proposed, drawing together several sources of data coming from national statistics and surveys as well as interviews carried out during long and meticulous fieldwork.

The presentations made during the restitution seminar held in Delhi on 17-18 December 2019 are available here:

Head researcher involved: Bruno Dorin

Foresight ZBNF Andhra 2050: This project aims to carry out a collective retro-prospective study (from the 1960s to 2050) on structural changes in agriculture, employment, and income inequality in Andhra Pradesh (a Southern State of India with 90 million inhabitants in 2018), notably by testing a scenario of future conversion of all farmers to a form of agroecology called “ZBNF” (Zero Budget Natural Farming). This scenario could be the first Indian – and even worldwide –  scenario of large-scale agroecological transition. The project “Foresight ZBNF-Andhra 2050” is co-financed by the government of Andhra Pradesh, CIRAD, and FAO. Its expected duration is two years (from October 2018 to December 2020), and its scientific direction is provided by Bruno Dorin and the adaptation of his quantitative tool/model “Agribiom” aiming to assist foresight and implementations of collective desired futures.

Head researcher involved: Bruno Dorin