Global Economies of Care

This programme has now ended, but continues as a network. The III networks are former research programmes that continue to be active in research, collaboration, and impact in their subject area.

Care is the crisis of our times, within households, in our political frameworks, and across the global economy. This programme will insist that we pay close attention to its significance.

Professor Alpa Shah

This programme highlights the role of care as an economic driver of value by centring the significance of feminist debates and social reproduction analysis to inequalities research. It unveils the hidden value of care right from within the household to across the global economy, from domestic and care labour to planetary care.

This research programme is led by Professor Alpa ShahThe Assistant Professorial Research Fellow for this programme is Dr Shalini Grover.

If there is anything revealed by the global crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is how central a role care plays in global inequalities. This is not only a question of the decades of undervaluing our care workers (our health workers, our carers, our cleaners) or the stark ‘care inequalities’ faced by different communities across the world in access to care, but also how central care is for life itself. It is the question of the centrality of social reproduction – giving birth, bringing up children, running households, educating, looking after the elderly – for the global economy and how under capitalism this care is so easily hidden and devalued.

Without care the global economy could not function, yet care is rarely recognised as a key economic driver of value. Without care, workers would not be born, fed, educated and replenished. Social reproduction would halt. But care is not just a labour issue, not just caring for but also caring about. Care is about how we relate to others, the fundamental social relations that underpin our lives and survival. How we conceive of caring is also intimately connected to the politics we get. The care programme is a space to examine the different scales, spaces and experiences of care. It is also an arena to highlight and examine the conditions of all the multiple informal hidden economies of care, moving from global patterns of migration regimes to the intimate realm of household structures and moral duties. Crucial to this agenda is to explore the gendered and racialized inequalities and politics of care.

Current projects: 

Research focus and aims 

Theoretical issues: 

This programme moves from abstract economic theories, through understanding social relations, political and legal structures to policy recommendations and social movements.

1. Firstly, we enhance better economic understanding and ask how do we modify our current economic thinking in order to account for social reproduction. Fundamental to this question is how we understand value. Traditionally value has been located in the singular individual who engages in exchange in a market of commodities and labour. The care economy is global. What happens when the global economic model of abstract monetary flows incorporates care? What happens to the model of the greedy self-interested individualist if we factor in the dispersed act of care giving? Care also enables the increased financialisation of everyday life. The major companies providing care in the UK for instance, are global multinational private equity companies. The industrialisation and privatisation of the care industry will be subject to scrutiny, as differences between different care regimes are examined, and at the same time we will expose the hidden economies of care within households. This wake up call to traditional economic models will also address the significance of the geo-political condition of surplus populations (through war, forced migration), through institutional structures (nation states, care industries), asking who has a right to life, the ultimate question of social reproduction: How should we care for vulnerable children, people and populations?

2. Secondly, we create spaces to investigate how social reproduction re-figures our understandings of class, gender and race. We know, for instance about social schemes that exist (in Holland for example) to encourage migrant women to undertake volunteer care work as a step towards national integration. As research has shown this places migrant women in the role of enabling European women to undo traditional gender and reinforce a racial and classed division of labour by allowing legal ‘national’ women to become workers in the ‘productive’ labour market, whilst migrant women are re-contained in another’s home for free. The programme will investigate the significance of migrant worker’s labour to uneven gendered and raced development theories exploring labour deportability, pointing to the significance and routes of colonial histories of mobility. Equally we look at the role of male domestic-care workers and how they negotiate constructed notions of masculinity when engaging in forms of employment associated with feminised, stigamatised and low-status work.

3. Thirdly, we focus on the experience of care. Care work often comes with high levels of alienation and high turnover rates of employment. The contradictions between caring for and caring about have long been documented and are growing. Furthermore, while “care” as a moral value is often understood as overwhelmingly positive, we argue for a more nuanced interpretation which acknowledges the associated layers of support, such as “caring with”. Care may also be experienced alongside violence, vulnerability, control, and in some cases coercion.

4. Overall we seek to think about care in broad terms in relation to the sustenance of life itself and all that is undervalued towards this end in dominant economic thinking and modelling. In this frame, planetary care will be central -  because without air, water and food, how can we live? The absolutely fundamental life infrastructure is being extracted and destroyed with little care for life. But so will issues such as political regimes which incarcerate dissenters seeking to draw attention to the oppression and exploitation of those who care.

The programme aims to develop cross-disciplinary perspectives, work with activist groups and policy bodies. Ultimately we want to put the issue of social reproduction at the centre of new economic thinking. To make it an unavoidable issue for policy makers, not just siloed in ‘welfare’ or women’s issues but to make it integral to all economic thinking, planning and policy.

The programme has the following outputs:

Forgotten Histories of Racialized Colonial Networks of Domestic Workers in South India: Impacts on Contemporary Labour Markets

Shalini Grover is PI for an LSE RISF grant for 2022-2023, titled, 'Forgotten Histories of Racialized Colonial Networks of Domestic Workers in South India: Impacts on Contemporary Labour Markets'. The project combines anthropology, history, and law to examine the histories of the disadvantaged colonial networks at the cusp of India's independence (1947) and its aftermath. It aims to trace impacts such as postcolonial inequalities in contemporary care economies and domestic service in India, South Asia and transnationally. The project will re-construct the histories of the colonial networks who were caught in monumental political transitions when the Empire fell, and when British and Anglo-Indian employers migrated to post-World War II Britain.

Image: Bridget-White Kumar with her ayah in colonial South India

 British Academy Small Research Grant Project - ‘Male Domestic-Care Workers in Globalizing India’

Dr. Shalini Grover, an anthropologist and III Research Fellow won a British Academy Small Research Grant with anthropologist Dr. Thomas Chambers (Senior Lecturer, Oxford Brookes) on ‘Male Domestic-Care Workers in Globalizing India’ for 2021-2022. The project involves a detailed ethnographic enquiry into male domestic-care workers in India’s capital city, Delhi. It aims to address a substantive gap in academic and policy debates regarding paid and unpaid male domestic-care work. Specifically, it attends to how men negotiate constructed notions of masculinity when engaging in forms of employment associated with feminised, stigmatised, and low-status work. The research journey will track the ways in which labour precarity, workers’ skillsets and forms of labour brokerage are altering gendered expectations and the everyday experiences of male domestic-care workers. It will also elucidate how COVID-19 has impacted the employment opportunities of men in the sector, their relationships with employers and their sense of agency.

 British Academy Small Research Grant Project - Solidarity and Care During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Dr Erica Lagalisse, an anthropologist and postdoctoral researcher in the ‘Global Economies of Care Research Programme’ won a British Academy Small Research Grant to develop “Solidarity and Care During the Covid-19 Pandemic”, an archive and publication platform that she hosted as editor at The Sociological Review in 2020-2021.  During 2021-2023 Lagalisse will bring together contributors to “Solidarity and Care” for a series of research workshops and a live conference leading to an edited compilation concerning Covid-19, caring labour and social justice, as well as a podcast directed to the public.  This collaboration will address the dynamics of race, class, gender in the social construction of ‘health’ and ‘safety’ during the Covid-19 pandemic; new challenges facing social movements during this current era of increased state control; questions of labour, capital accumulation, borders and social reproduction related to Covid-19; and the construction of ‘care’ and its workers.


Professor Alpa Shah, Global Economies of Care Research Programme Leader, LSE III, and Professor, Department of Anthropology, LSE.

Professor Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol

Dr Camille Barbagallo, Postdoctoral Researcher, Leeds University Business School

Professor Laura Bear, Professor, Department of Anthropology, LSE.

Professor Agnes Bolsø, Professor Emerita, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Madeleine Bunting, Visiting Professor in Practice, LSE III.

Dr Thomas Chambers, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Oxford Brookes University

Professor Andreas Chatzidakis, Professor in Marketing, School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway University of London

Professor Mary Evans, LSE Emeritus Leverhulme Professor, Department of Gender Studies, LSE.

Dr Sara Farris, Reader, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths University

Dr Shalini Grover, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE III.

Dr Ana Gutierrez, Visiting Fellow, Department of Anthropology, LSE.

Dr Jamie Hakim, Lecturer in Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College London

Dr Tine Hanrieder, Assistant Professor, Department of International Development, LSE.

Dr Asiya Islam, Lecturer in Work and Employment Relations, Leeds University Business School

Professor Deborah James FBA, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Professor, Department of Anthropology, LSE.

Professor Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development, Department of International Development, LSE.

Dr Insa Koch, Visiting Professor, Department of Anthropology, LSE.

Professor Prabha Kotiswaran, Professor of Law and Social Justice, Department of Law, King’s College London

Professor Nicola Lacey, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy, LSE Law School, LSE.

Dr Erica Lagalisse, Visiting Fellow, LSE III.

Dr Jo Littler, Professor of Social Analysis and Cultural Politics, City University of London

Professor Nick Mai, Honorary Professor, School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Science, University of Newcastle, Australia

Professor Neetha N., Professor, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi, India

Professor Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Southern California

Professor Diane Perrons, Professor Emerita in Feminist Political Economy, Department of Gender Studies, LSE.

Dr Ania Plomien, Faculty Associate, LSE III and Associate Professor in Gender and Social Science, Deputy Head of Department (Research) Department for Gender Studies, LSE.

Dr Isabel Shutes, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Policy, LSE.

Dr Laura Sochas, Visiting Fellow, LSE III

Dr Huda Tayob, Lecturer in Architectural Studies, University of Manchester

Professor Imogen Tyler, Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University

Professor Susanne Wessendorf, Visiting Professor, LSE III.

Professor Brenda Yeoh, Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

Dr Simon Yuill, Visiting Researcher, Digital Culture Unit, Goldsmiths University


Chakraborty, Satya Shikha and Grover, Shalini (2022) Care-work for colonial and contemporary white families in India: A historical-anthropology of the racialized romanticization of the ayah. Cultural Dynamics, 0(0).

Bosch, Igor, Jens Lerche, Alpa Shah, Miranda Fajerman and Neha Wadhawan (2022) Understanding patterns of structural discrimination against migrant and other workers in some countries of South and West Asia.  International Labour Organisation.

Grover, Shalini (2022) "Placement Agencies for Care-Domestic Labour: Everyday Mediation, Civilizing Missions, Regimes of Punishment and Training in Globalized India". Modern Asian Studies, pp. 1 - 29. 

Grover, Shalini (2023 in print) Family-Arranged Marriages in Globalizing India: Shifting Scripts of Desire, Infidelity and Emotional Compatibility. In, Peter Berta (Editor) Arranged Marriage: The Politics of Tradition, Resistance and Change. USA: Rutgers University Press.

Grover, Shalini (2023 in print) Female Solidarity and Friendships Among Lower Caste Middle-Aged Women in India. In, Shruti Chaudhry, Hugo Gorringe, and Radhika Govinda (Editors) Gender in South Asia and Beyond: A Festschrift in Honour of Patricia Jeffery. New Delhi: Zubaan and University of Chicago Press.

Grover, Shalini and Sanna Schliewe (forthcoming) Trailing Spouses in India. In, Petra Matijevic and Alena Ledenva (Editors) Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, Vol 111. London: University College Press (UCL Press). 

Grover, Shalini (2022) Placement agencies for care-domestic labour: everyday mediation, regimes of punishment, civilizing missions and training in globalized India. Modern Asian Studies. pp. 1-29. 

Shah, Alpa (forthcoming) Planetary Care from Indigenous India: A White Paper on Climate Change, Peacebuilding and Migration. Occasional Paper of the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Shah, Alpa (2022) Why I Write: In a Climate Against Intellectual Dissidence. Current Anthropology. 63 (5).

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2021) Black Lives Matter, capital and ideology: spiraling out from India. British Journal of Sociology, 72. pp. 93-105.

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2020) Migration and the invisible economies of care: Production, social reproduction and seasonal migrant labour in India. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers45(4), pp.719-734.

Shah, Alpa. 2024 submitted and in press. The Incarcerations: BK16 and the Search for Democracy in Modern India. HarperCollins India and the UK. 

Events and meetings

We have hosted a set of lively well-attended events and meetings setting the ‘global economies of care’ firmly on the agenda of research, writing and activism on inequalities:


Black Ghost of Empire: failed emancipations, reparations, and Maroon ecologies

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Wednesday 7 June 6.30pm to 8.00pm. Online and in-person public eventOld Theatre, Old Building.

Watch the event recording

Professor Kris Manjapra, Professor, Department of History, Tufts University

Professor Alpa Shah, Professor of Anthropology, LSE Department of Anthropology and Research Programme Leader, LSE III

To understand why the shadow of slavery haunts us today, we must confront the way that it ended. In this public event Kris Manjapra considers the implications of his book Black Ghost of Empire for climate justice. Manjapra argues that during each of the supposed emancipations from slavery – whether Haiti after the revolution, the British Empire in 1833 or the United States during the Civil War – Black people were dispossessed by the moves meant to free them. Emancipation codified existing racial-colonial hierarchies - rather than obliterating them, with far-reaching consequences for climate colonialism and for environmental justice.

Patriarchy: where did it all begin?

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute and the Wollstonecraft Society

Wednesday 24 May 6.30pm to 8.00pm. Online and in-person public eventSheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Watch the event recording
Listen to the podcast

Angela Saini, Journalist and Author
Bee Rowlatt, Author and Programmer of Events, Wollstonecraft Society

Professor Alpa Shah, Professor of Anthropology, LSE Department of Anthropology and Research Programme Leader, LSE III

Award-winning writer Angela Saini gives this year’s Wollstonecraft Society Lecture, sharing from her hotly-anticipated book The Patriarchs. Join us as Angela reveals the true roots of gendered oppression, and the complex history of how male domination became embedded in societies across the globe. Travelling to the world’s earliest known human settlements, and tracing cultural and political histories from the Americas to Asia, she overturns simplistic universal theories to show that what patriarchy is and how far it goes back really depends on where you are. Despite the push back against sexism and exploitation in our own time, even revolutionary efforts to bring about equality have often ended in failure and backlash.

 Aid and the Transnational Extraction of Care

Part of the Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 30 May 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Dr Dinah Hannaford, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Houston

Dr Shalini Grover, Research Fellow, LSE III

Hiring domestic workers is a routine part of the expat development lifestyle. Though nearly every expat aid worker in the developing world has local people working within the intimate sphere of their homes—as maids, nannies, security guards, gardeners, and chauffeurs—these relationships are seldom, if ever, discussed in analyses of the development paradigm and its praxis. Examining aid workers as employers of domestic labor provides an opportunity to reach a deeper understanding about the function of development both as an industry and as an orienting framework in our contemporary world, as well as a means to consider the role of aid workers as post-colonial subjects in Africa.

Second Care Theme public meeting

The second Care Theme public meeting was organized by Laura Sochas and Shalini Grover on 14th March 2023, where we went deeper into our members individual research interests. The meeting brought together those working on care across the LSE, as well as III visiting fellows.

Viable Lives: Life beyond survival in rural North India

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 7 March 12.00pm to 1.00pm. Online and in-person public eventThe Marshall Building - MAR 1.09.

Watch the event recording

Professor Craig Jeffrey, Professor of Human Geography, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Jane Dyson, Associate Professor of Human Geography, University of Melbourne

Dr Shalini Grover, Research Fellow, LSE III

Many minoritized and marginalised populations, including young people, are debating what constitutes a ‘survivable life’ and, in turn, how life can be arranged so that it is more than just survival. In this process they are often analysing how to conceptualise ‘life’. Notwithstanding these trends, however, there is little scholarly work on local discourses and practices of life and viability. This seminar contributes to redressing the balance by examining the spatial and temporal process through which young people imagine and build viable lives in an area of the Indian Himalayas.

 Meeting with Female Union Leaders from the Global South

In February 2023 we will have the rare honour of hosting female union leaders from Domestic Workers Organizations who work for SEWA in India, Echoes of Humanity in Zimbabwe and the National Federation of Women Workers of Dominican Republic. They shared their hard work, stories and challenges by engaging with the LSE International Inequalities Institute staff and the AFSEE Fellows.  We interacted with the following union leaders:

Ruth Esther Díaz de Medina has a degree in Business Administration, a Master's Degree in Security and Social Protection and diplomas in Regional, Political and Commercial Integration, Social Security with a Perspective of Gender, Occupational Risks with a Gender and Family perspective, labour law, interregional union training on Social Security and seminars for the Promotion of the Ratification of Convention 102 for Latin American Workers, union competences for the promotion of decent work and social justice , strengthening union networks and Effects of the global financial and economic crisis on social security systems, especially pensions.

Dr Charity Chenga is one of the founding members of Echoes of Humanity, linked to the Machitenda village through her mother’s family. She is actively involved in oral history about the area. She uses football tournaments to establish community engagement as well as trust. Most activities in the area are participatory resulting in having a background of both practitioner and researcher in community development. This has enhanced hr education to PhD level.

Paromita Sen has spent the last decade conducting research on issues related to gender and marginalisation, across the Global South. Her research draws on ethnographic and grounded methodologies primarily, with the goal of enabling access to voice and power for marginalised communities. After having spent 7 years in the US as a researcher and feminist activist, she moved back to India and set up the Research Vertical at SEWA Bharat where she is now the Research Manager. She is currently working with informal women workers, and supporting their empowerment through evidence generation, collectivisim and upskilling, and advocating with them

The event was organized by Matt Reynolds (PhD Candidate in Sociology), Louisa Acciari (Director of Gender and Disaster Institute at UCL) and Shalini Grover (Research Fellow and anthropologist at the III)

The English Heritage honoured the Ayah’s Home at 26 King Edward’s Road with a Blue Plaque on July 16th, 2022. 

Farhanah Mamoojee, Niti Achary, Shalini Grover, Rozina Visram, Florain Stadler, Claire Lowrie and Jo Stanley: The English Heritage honoured the Ayah’s Home at 26 King Edward’s Road with a Blue Plaque on July 16th 2022. For our talks and contributions to this event see our Youtube video and Facebook video.
The Ayahs Home is known to have housed hundreds of destitute ayahs and amah’s, especially Indian and Chinese women who made voyages to the colonies from 1900-1942. The event was marked by a Flag inauguration with Meera Syal (independent filmmaker) and Anita Anand (BBC journalist) and had a large public turnout.

The event was widely covered in by the international press (BBCBACSAFirst PostTimes of India)

First Care Theme public meeting

The first Care Theme public meeting was organized by Shalini Grover and Laura Sochas on 25th January 2023. The meeting brought together those working on care across the LSE, as well as III visiting fellows and one scholar from University of London.

The Impact of Caste and Untouchability: A Missing Link in the Literature on Stunting in India

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 22 November 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventLSE Centre Building, Room 2.05.

Professor Ashwini Deshpande, Professor of Economics and Founding Director, Centre for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA), Ashoka University, India

Professor Naila Kabeer, Professor of Gender and Development, Department of Gender Studies, LSE

India is home to nearly a third of all stunted children. Previous research has overlooked the critical role of caste and the stigmatizing practice of untouchability in shaping incidence of stunting: upper caste (UC) Hindu children are 57% less likely to be stunted than the low-ranked Scheduled Caste (SCs) children. We document the strong negative correlation between the prevalence of the self-professed practice of untouchability and gaps in stunting rates between the UC-Hindu and SC children. The historical geographical span of Hinduism was bounded to the south by the Vindhya Mountain range. Hence, untouchability and caste practices were more rigid to the North of the Vindhya range, directly under the influence of the Indo-Aryan social order. Our estimates show that the SC children living to the south of the Vindhya range are around 30% taller, and have 40% lower levels of stunting, than their counterparts living to the north.

Social Reproduction and Domestic Service: An International Comparison

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 15 November 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventLSE Centre Building, Room 2.05.

Dr Marion Lieutaud, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, LSE Department of Methodology and Visiting Fellow, LSE III
Dr Paul Segal, Reader in Economics of Development, Department of International Development, Kings College London and Visiting Fellow, LSE III

Dr Shalini Grover, Research Fellow, LSE III

Across the world, over 75 million people are domestic workers for private households (ILO 2021). Previous scholarship has unveiled their working conditions and transnational lives, and how domestic work is built on global inequalities (Parreñas 2015). This paper looks at the households who employ these workers, to understand the context, conditions and inequalities that make it possible for some families to purchase the reproductive labour (housework and carework) of others. Households divide this labour between family, community, the market, and the state. How they do this depends on factors including the extent of state provision of care services, and the degree of economic inequality. In order to identify and weigh these different dimensions, we consider a sample of 8 countries (4 Western European countries; 3 Eastern European countries including Russia; and Mexico) and we use a combination of time-use and expenditure data from cross-national surveys and national surveys.

Unfree: Migrant domestic labour in the Middle East

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Watch the videoListen to the podcast.

Speakers: Professor Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California; Lina Abou Habib, Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, American University of Beirut; Dr Steffen Hertog, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics, LSE

Chair: Dr Shalini Grover, Research Fellow, LSE III

Mobilising Productive Subjectivities: Transnational production and social reproduction in unequal Europe

Part of the III Inequalities Seminar Series

Tuesday 11 October 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Online and in-person public eventLSE Centre Building, Room 2.05.

Dr Ania Plomien, Associate Professor, Department of Gender Studies, LSE

Dr Shalini Grover, Research Fellow, LSE III

Drawing on an ongoing collaborative project (with Dr Gregory Schwarz) on transnational labour mobility with Polish and Ukrainian migrants working in the food, housing and care sectors in Germany, Poland, and the UK, this event interrogates the dialectical relationship between (global) forces of production and (local) necessities of social reproduction.

The event focuses on the gendered lived experiences of labouring subjectivities of transnational workers, as they confront the necessities of provisioning in a field increasingly dominated by market (vis-à-vis state and household) resourcing. Plomien considers the role that different historico-culturally constituted ‘productive subjectivities’ play in facilitating the social reproduction of European capitalism and draw out the implications for gender inequality, the extent to which inequalities are being accommodated and re-inscribed, rather than transformed.

Watch the video
Listen to the podcast

 Nine Paths: What it means to be a minority woman in a majoritarian state

Monday 6 June 2022

. Listen to the podcast. 

Speakers: Sonia Faleiro, Journalist and Writer; Professor Patricia Jeffrey, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Edinburgh; Dr Lexi Stadlen, Anthropologist and Author of Nine Paths: A Year in the Life of an Indian Village 

ChairProfessor Alpa Shah, Professor of Anthropology and Convenor Global Economies of Care Research Programme, LSE III 

Evacuating Women Judges in Afghanistan: a tale of international feminist solidarity

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Watch the video. Listen to the podcast. 

Baroness Kennedy, Member, House of Lords, Chair of Justice, the British arm of the International Commission of Jurists

Fawzia Amini, former Senior Judge in Afghanistan's Supreme Court
Bee Rowlatt, Chair, Wollstonecraft Society

Professor Alpa Shah, Professor of Anthropology and Convenor, Global Economies of Care Research Programme, LSE III  

Homelessness and Care: Anthro-vision revealing what is hidden in plain sight  

Thursday 24 March 2022

Watch the videoListen to the podcast.

Speakers: Simon Tawfic, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, LSE; Dr Mayanka Mukherjee, Fellow in Social Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, LSE, Dr Johannes Lenhard, Research Associate and Co-ordinator, Max Planck Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change

Chair: Professor Alpa Shah, Professor in Anthropology and Convenor, Global Economies of Care Research Programme, LSE III 

The Dawn of Everything


Watch the videoListen to the podcast

Speakers: Professor David Wengrow, Institute of Archaeology, University College London; Professor Alpa Shah, Professor in Anthropology and Convenor, Global Economies of Care Research Programme, LSE III 

Chair: Professor Francisco Ferreira, Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director, LSE III 

Investing in Care? Private Finance and Social Infrastructures

Co-hosted with UCL Geography

Wednesday 07 July 2021

Speakers: Dr Emma Dowling and Dr Horton 

Discussant: Professor Bev Skeggs 

Chair: Dr Alpa Shah 

Social care is often seen as a drain on the economy, subject to a sustained crisis, which has been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic. Yet in the UK and internationally these services have attracted huge investor interest over the last two decades – from private equity firms and real estate funds to impact investors. In this event, we explored: Why has private finance come to play such a significant role in care homes, home care and related efforts to achieve social impact? What does this mean for the many people working in care and all of us who rely on these services? What alternative approaches could we promote that might address the inequalities of the current ‘financialised’ system?

Watch the video

Listen to the podcast

Good Girls: Sonia Faleiro in conversation with Alpa Shah

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Speakers: Sonia Faleiro and Dr Alpa Shah

Chair: Dr Armine Ishkanian 

Sonia Faleiro was in conversation with Alpa Shah about her new book ‘Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing’. A deep investigation into the death of two low caste teenage girls, Faleiro explores the coming of age, the failures of care, and the violence of caste, honour and shame in contemporary India.

Watch the video

Listen to the podcast

Mary Wollstonecraft and the Vindication of Human Rights

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Speakers: Professor Amartya Sen and Bee Rowlatt 

Chair: Dr Alpa Shah 

Mary Wollstonecraft claimed human rights for all. She overcame limited education and a background of domestic violence to become an educational and political pioneer, and one of the greatest thinkers of the eighteenth century. As well as her intellectual audacity, it is Wollstonecraft’s love for humanity, her self-proclaimed “ardent affection for the human race” that continues to inspire. This event explored how, despite a savage pandemic, economic downturn, and increasing isolation in both political and individual life, there is a counter-story of community building and education, of optimism and hope.

Watch the video

Listen to the podcast

Post-Divorce Intimacy in Contemporary Asia

Thursday 25 March 2021

Speakers/Participants: Allison Alexy (University of Michigan), Asha L. Abeyasekera (University of Colombo), Kay Cook (Swinburne University of Technology), Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Caren Freeman (University of Virginia), Katy Gardner (LSE), Shalini Grover (LSE), Chaya Koren (University of Haifa), Livia Holden (University of Paris Nanterre and University of Padoua), Jayaprakash Mishra (Indian Institute of Technology), Quah Ee Ling Sharon (University of Wollongong), Kaveri Qureshi (University of Edinburgh), Tannistha Samanta (FLAME University) and Kailing Xie (University of Warwick) 

Chairs: Dr Shalini Grover (Research Fellow, LSE III) and Dr Kaveri Qureshi (Lecturer, Social Policy, University of Edinburgh) 

This workshop on divorce and its aftermath in contemporary Asia was based on a forthcoming edited volume. Rapid socio-economic changes across Asia, along with the unremitting emphasis on strong family values, make the Asian region an illuminating case study for research on divorce and intimacy. Across differences of class, ethnicity and race, and community, our volume seeks to examine post-divorce trajectories. Can the lived experience of divorce be a porthole, in the sense of a break with the past, a gateway between two worlds; or does it augment stark inequalities that are historically rooted? What can divorce signal about family formations, societal transformations, age and identity in globalizing Asia? Our papers explored how former spouses - including heterosexual and queer subjects, reconfigure themselves in relation to one another, and remap a whole set of other intimate relationships, to rebuild their lives after divorce.  

See the workshop programme here

Read the workshop report here

Households, Inequalities and Care: lockdown experiences from the UK, New Zealand and India - Inequalities Seminar series

Tuesday 09 March 2021

Speakers: Dr Alpa Shah, Professor Laura Bear, and Dr Nick Long

Chair: Dr Insa Koch 

This event explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need to centre an understanding of the household in policy-making and politics if we are to mitigate inequalities. It did so by unveiling the insights of immersive anthropological research on the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns as experienced in the UK, New Zealand and India. It explored the inequalities, in particular an informal and formal care deficit generated by UK national and local lockdowns, along with the problematic assumptions about the household and community in COVID-19 policy interventions in the UK. The seminar analysed the success, but also the limitations, of bubble policies in the New Zealand as a strategy for allowing citizens to support loved ones living beyond their immediate residence whilst nevertheless preventing the spread of COVID-19. It highlighted the significance of the spatio-temporal division of households that were at the heart of the plight of the hundreds of thousands of migrant labourers who took to their feet and marched home when the lockdowns were called in India. Overall, speakers suggested alternative approaches to policy and politics grounded in anthropological insights and methods.

Watch the video

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Building a Caring Economy

Thursday 04 February 2021

Speakers: Madeleine Bunting, Professor Diane Elson, and Professor Lynne Segal 

Chair: Dr Alpa Shah 

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us aware of an acute crisis of care that lies at the heart of global inequalities. Care has long been marginalised and neglected as a central part of our economy. It’s a crisis not just of care workers but moves from the intimate domain of our households to global planetary care itself. What is this crisis of care, how should we think about care, and what can be done to make care more central to what we value? How do we build back our global economy by putting care – care of people and care of the environment - at its centre? These crucial questions were addressed through a discussion of three major recent interventions: The Labours of LoveThe Care Manifesto and Creating a Caring Economy.

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Covid and its Impact on Domestic Workers: Continental Perspectives on Argentina, India, and the United Kingdom 

Tuesday 01 December 2020

Speakers: Dr Shalini Grover, Professor Louise Ryan, Dr Lorena Poblete, Dr Joyce Jiang, and Dr Neha Wadhawan 

Chair: Dr Alpa Shah 

This International Inequalities Institute seminar compared the experiences of domestic workers in India, Argentina and the UK to address three fundamental issues. It asked what the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed about the inequalities faced by domestic workers and dexplore how the impact of the pandemic on domestic care workers makes us reflect on the question of what is work. The seminar also investigated the implications of the pandemic on work relations between employers and domestic workers. The aim was to highlight, examine and compare the multiple crises and inequalities of care experienced by those who are essential to giving care across three continents. 

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Classes of Labour: work and life in a central Indian steel town

Wednesday 11 November 2020 

Speaker: Professor Jonathan Parry 

Discussants: Dr Maxim Bolt, Professor Geert De Neve, Dr Nayanika Mathur, Dr Massimiliano Mollona, Dr Nate Roberts, and Dr Christian Strümpell 

Chair: Dr Alpa Shah 

How should we understand the human conditions of the Indian workforce? This event discussed and celebrated, Professor Jonathan Parry’s magnum opus “Classes of Labour: Work and Life in a central Indian Steel Town”, a classic in the social sciences.

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Care-work for Colonial and Contemporary White Families in India: A Historical-Anthropological Study of the Racialized Romanticization of the Ayah

Tuesday 07 July 2020

Speakers: Dr Satyasikha Chakraborty and Dr Shalini Grover 

Discussants: Professor Nandini Gooptu and Professor Swapna M. Banerjee 

Chair: Professor Alpa Shah 

programme Introduction: Professor Beverley Skeggs

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Caring Forward: the global care economy and its future

Thursday 20 June 2020

Speaker: Ai-jen Poo

Chair: Professor Beverley Skeggs 

Acclaimed US labour organiser Ai-jen Poo spoke on the global care economy and offer a vision for its future. We have a complex relationship with care work. It sustains us and our entire global economy, but we often forget to consider who provides care and at what cost. Community organising, local and global campaigns, and efforts led by researchers, creatives and international organisations are focusing increasing attention on the alarming inequalities (re)produced by the global care economy. How can we challenge the conditions of precarity experienced by so many care workers around the world? How can we care forward together?

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The Labour of Care: work, law and finance

Tuesday 01 May 2018

Speakers: Dr Lydia Hayes, Kevin Lucas, Dr Insa Koch and Professor Nicola Lacey

Chair: Professor Beverley Skeggs 

Caring is one of the most pressing concerns for anyone who is a parent, ageing, less able, and/or looking after anyone who needs support, yet it is often taken for granted as an activity. This event focused on the consequences for care when the most basic human/e pursuit has been turned into a “for profit” activity. What happens when a basic social emotion is monetised? What does this mean for the future of humanity?

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