Université d'Erfurt

Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo

Humboldt-Stipendiat am Max-Weber-Kolleg
von September 2011 bis Juli 2012 und von Mai bis Juli 2013



Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo is a Humbolt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt. He received his Ph.D from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore. Before joining the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Dr. Sahoo has taught at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. In 2010, he was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. In 2009, he received the Asian Institute and Munk Centre for International Studies fellowship to visit the University of Toronto, Canada. He also received the International Sociological Association’s fellowship to attend its Ph.D Laboratory at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria. In 2008, Dr. Sahoo was a Visiting Ph.D Fellow in Department of International Development Studies, School of Society and Globalization, Roskilde University, Denmark. His research interests include issues related to Postcolonial State, Civil Society and Democratization, Identity Politics, Hindu Nationalism, Poverty, and Neo-liberal Globalization. Dr. Sahoo has been teaching courses on Making Sense of Society, Introduction to the Sociology of India, Classical/Modern Sociological Theory, Perspectives on State and Society, Social Science Approaches to Development, and Globalization & Transnationalism.


  • Ph.D. Sociology, National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
  • M. Phil. Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • M. A. Sociology, Hyderabad Central University, India

Selected publications

  • ‘Political Mobilization, the Poor and Democratization in Neo-liberal India’, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Taylor and Francis, Vol. 40, No. 3, August  2010, pp. 487-508.
  • ‘Ethno-Religious Identity and Sectarian Civil Society: A Case from India’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, Blackwell Publishing, Vol. 8, No. 3, December 2008, pp. 453-480.
  • ‘Globalization, Social Welfare and Civil Society in India’, Journal of Comparative Social Welfare, Taylor and Francis, October 2008, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 133-141.
  • ‘The Politics of Tribal Resistance in Orissa’, The Indian Journal of Political Science, Vol. LXVIII, No. 2, April-June 2007, pp. 391-402.
  • ‘Tribal Displacement and Human Rights Violations in Orissa’, Social Action: A Quarterly Review of Social Trends, April-June, 2005, Vol. 55, No. 2, pp.153-166.
  • ‘The Politics of “Democratic Participation” in India in Anand Kumar and Manish Tiwari, eds. (2010) Quest for Participatory Democracy, Jaipur: Rawat Publications, pp. 279-292.
  • ‘The Problem of Governance in India’ in William Tow and Chin Kin Wah, eds., (2009) ASEAN-India-Australia: Towards Closer Engagement in New Asia, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 269-90.
  • ‘Civil Society and Democratization in India’ in R. Gosh, K.R. Gupta, and P. Maiti, eds. (2008) Development Studies, Vol. III, New Delhi, Atlantic Publishers, pp. 185-200.
  • ‘Civil Society, Citizenship and Subaltern Counterpublics in Post-colonial India’ in Ajaya K. Sahoo, ed. (2006) Sociological Perspectives on Globalization, Delhi: Kalpaz Publication, pp. 57-88.
  • ‘Globalization and “the Politics of the Governed”: Redefining Governance in Liberalized India’, Department of Sociology Working Paper, No. 184, National University of Singapore, 2007, ISSN: 0129-8186, pp. 1-30.

Research project

Poverty, Religious Violence and the „Developmental State“ in India

Poverty is considered as one of the most important development challenges today leading to corruption,
crime, terrorism, and political violence. Social science research has very well demonstrated the
correlation between high levels of poverty and high levels of violence. The solution, it is therefore assumed, is the reduction of poverty, which will result in peace, prosperity and good governance. Poverty has thus assumed a central place in the UN Millennium Development Goals. The World Bank and other international donor agencies of the industrialized west have been spending a large amount of their budget towards poverty reduction in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This research, however, aims to understand the relationship between declining poverty and increasing violence, especially religious violence in the socio-cultural context of Rajasthan, a state in the north-western part of India. The central question that is asked here is why has religious and political violence, despite a significant decline in poverty level, increased in Rajasthan in last two decades? Building on ethnographic fieldwork and historical analysis, this research will examine the complex and contingent nature of the state and its relationship with religion, violence, and developmental politics in a society that is experiencing rapid socio-economic transformation following the policies of neo-liberal globalization. Given that violence marks many multiethnic societies, this research will have great practical meaning in understanding the ambiguous relationship between ethnic identity, religious pluralism and democratic culture in Indian society.

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