2010 Dissertation (Dr. rer. pol.); Political Science (University of Leipzig)
2002 Magister Artium (M.A.); Political Science of South Asia, History of South Asia (South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg)
Work in the ‘Bazaar’ – The Organization of Work in an Urban Milieu beyond State Regulation, 1960s to the Present
Abstract: Based on a research grant by the German Research Foundation (DFG), this project is intended as the corollary to my habilitation project (outlined below) and follows a similar methodological approach: Having observed the production of (enclaves of) informality in urban northern India through the interplay of market framing processes and social responses to these from its entrepreneurial dimension, the project addresses the question of ‘informalization’ of labor and work relations in the ‘bazaar’ of the north Indian city of Banaras (Varanasi), an urban arena marked by the interplay of a procedurally defined modernity with the socio-spatial grid and informational order of a ‘traditional’ commercial entrepôt and retail center. It combines a historiography of labor based on a range of locally acquired sources, including a significant body of documents from (increasingly dysfunctional) informal sector trade unions operating in the ‘bazaar’ and local traders’ association materials since the 1960s, with an ethnographic enquiry into organizational patterns of labor and work conditions.
2011 – 2017
Debt in Banaras – Informal Finance, Transgressive Entrepreneurship, and the Production of a Monetary Outside in a North Indian Town
Abstract: My habilitation project combined a contemporary history of market framing processes in India with an in-depth ethnographic study of social responses to these in an urban environment, both in the form of adjustments and evasions. Essentially, the project contrasts the development and attempted imposition of a procedurally circumscribed modernity in (socio-)economic relations with the everyday practices of asserting, contesting, and negotiating rules in an urban environment marked by a multiplicity of sovereignties. The project studies the production of both procedurally and spatially bounded extra-legal (and frequently illegal) monetary markets, related to both credit and speculation, through the interplay of these factors. Relying primarily on the study of the evolution of money lending and related practices in the north Indian city of Banaras (Varanasi) since the late colonial period, the project seeks to address the topic of ‘informalization’ from its entrepreneurial dimension.
2010 – 2011
The Political Economy of Identity – the Jama’at-i-Islami Pakistan
Abstract: Intended as a concise follow-up on my research on the Indian BJP, facilitating an extension of the comparative framework of analysis, and funded by Fritz Thyssen Foundation, this short-term project observed the development of local socio-political dynamics through an ethnographic analysis of local cadres of the JI in the Pakistani city of Gujranwala. The project needed to be discontinued after the initial stage with my shift to the Modern Indian History research group at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies.
2005 – 2009
New Cultural Identitarian Political Movements in Developing Societies – the Bharatiya Janata Party
Abstract: My research agenda on the ‘bazaar’ in north Indian urban society has developed out of an engagement with communalist and religious politics in India which I initially observed in the setting of this segment of Indian society, specifically in the north Indian town of Aligarh. This research project, funded by
the German Research Foundation (DFG) and based at the University of Leipzig, Germany, formed the basis for my doctorate in political science, and used a comparative framework of analysis based on two case studies on cultural identity in modern politics in the Global South: one on the successors of the Algerian Front Islamique du Salut, and one on the BJP in India (the latter conducted by me). The comparative framework served to isolate discursive parameters pre-occupied with cultural settings from the local ramifications of long-term shifts in the respective political economies, especially concerning rent allocation structures at the local levels of the respective polities, enabling the identification of patterns of growth, integration into the political system, internal coherence, radicalization and moderation, and integration into broadly neoliberal political agendas.
CONFERENCES, WORKSHOPS, PAPERS
CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS:
• (with Ajay Gandhi), International workshop Everyday Markets, Market Moralities,and Informality in Modern South Asia (1 – 2 December 2016, Göttingen).
• (with Douglas E. Haynes, Ingo Köhler and Christina Lubinski), International workshop Informal and Everyday Markets. Histories of Business and Entrepreneurship in India since the 19th Century, Göttingen (16 - 18 June 2014).
• (with Hartmut Elsenhans and Rachid Ouaissa), International workshop New Cultural Identitarian Political Movements, Leipzig (May 2007).
• Panel Chair and convener, “Beyond the Resource Curse. Towards a Political Economy of Rent and Transition”, International Studies Association Annual Convention, Montreal (19 - 26 March 2011).
“Work in the Bazaar. Urban Space and the (Re-)production of Informality in a North Indian Town”, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (14 March 2018).
“Infrastructures of Entrepreneurial Transgression. Urban Space and Informal Finance in Northern India”, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (16 November 2017).
“The Seven Spiritual Laws of Sakh-cess: Caste and Entrepreneurial Moralities on (Extra-legal) Credit Markets in Banaras”, Panel: Chicken Soup for the Soulful. Morals, Markets, and Venture Spiritualism, 46th Annual Conference on South Asia (26 – 29 October 2017, Madison/Wisconsin).
“Contemporary South Asia. Zone, Construct, Artifact”, Roundtable Discussion, International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden (16 October 2017).
“The Artifice of Trust as Procedure. The Production of Formality and Informality on Monetary Markets in Late Colonial Northern India”, 10th International Convention of Asia Scholars (20 – 23 July 2017, Chiang Mai).
“The Artifice of Trust as Procedure and Reputation. “Proper” Transactional Procedure and Banking Advertising in Mid-twentieth Century Banaras”, International workshop Everyday Markets, Market Moralities, and Informality in Modern South Asia (1 – 2 December 2016, Göttingen).
“Unziviles Unternehmertum – Marktmoralitäten und Reputation im informellen Finanzwesen von Banaras” [Uncivil entrepreneurship – market moralities and
reputation in informal finance in Banaras], Institute for Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn (23 April 2016).
“Categories of the ‘Black Market’”, International workshop Political Cosmologies, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen (4 - 5 June 2015).
“Shooting a Lion. Forms of Capital and Their Social Embedment in Times of Elite Decline”, International workshop Cultural Elites in Contemporary India.
Constructions and Deconstructions, Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (5
- 6 May 2015).
“A ‘Tangled Jungle of Disorderly Transactions’? Embedded Capital and the Resilience of the Monetary Outside in a North Indian Town”, Leiden Institute of Area Studies (20 April 2015).
“Secularism’s Other. Studying the BJP as a Socioeconomic Political Project”, International workshop Perspectives on Contemporary India, International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden (16 - 17 April 2015).
“A ‘Tangled Jungle of Disorderly Transactions’? Informality and Trust in Quotidian Finance in Late Colonial and Contemporary Banaras”, International workshop Informal and Everyday Markets. Histories of Business and Entrepreneurship in India since the 19th Century, Göttingen (16 - 18 June 2014).
“Debt in Banaras. Extrapolitics and Uncivil Entrepreneurship in a Context of (Formal) Policy Failure“, International workshop Extrapolitics: Indian Politics and the Political Outside, Göttingen (5 - 7 December 2012).
“Debt in Banaras. Illicit Entrepreneurship in the Context of (Formal) Policy Failure“, International workshop Urban India and New Forms of Democratic Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India (25 - 26 October 2012).
“Wie erfolgreich ist Indiens Demokratie?“ [How successful is India’s democracy?] Lecture and round-table, German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Hamburg (19 October 2011).
“The Secular and the Other. On the Manifold Uses of Identity in South Asian Political Economies.” Multiple Secularities and Global Interconnectedness – Second Annual Conference of the Centre for Area Studies, Leipzig (13 - 15 October 2011).
“Evolutionary Trajectories of Cultural Identity. The BJP and the Jama’at-i-Islami Pakistan”, Institute of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Vienna (27 May 2011).
“New Cultural Identitarian Political Movements in Developing Societies. The Case of the Bharatiya Janata Party”, CeMIS Research Colloquium, Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Göttingen (November 2010).
“The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Prospects of Its Turn towards Moderation”; International workshop New Cultural Identitarian Political Movements, Leipzig (May 2007).
“The Limitations of ‘Performative’ Politics in Political Mobilisation – a Study of the BJP in Aligarh”; European Conference of Modern South Asian Studies, Leiden (2006).
“Political Strategies and Ideological Postures. A Comparative Analysis of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat”; European Conference of Modern South Asian Studies, Lund (2004).