SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Dr Jens Lerche

MA, PhD (Copenhagen)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Jens Lerche
Department of Development Studies

Reader in Agrarian and Labour studies

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

SOAS Food Studies Centre

Member, SOAS Food Studies Centre

Agrarian Change and Development

Research Cluster Member

Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States

Research Cluster Member

Labour, Movements and Development

Research Cluster Member

Dr Jens Lerche
Email address:
020 7898 4505
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
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Jens has an MA and PhD in Social Geography from the University of Copenhagen, His research focuses on India. His research interests include the political economy of agrarian transformation, and class and caste relations in agrarian transition; the political economy of labour relations, unfree labour and rural labour migration; and struggles, movements and labour organisations; and the role of the ILO. Recent publications include the co-authored volume Ground Down by Growth. Tribe, Caste, Class, and Inequality in Twenty-First Century India; and articles on class, caste and social mobilisation, and on agrarian transition and agrarian crisis an Indian context,. He is editor of the Journal of Agrarian Change. His present research is on inequality and poverty of Dalits and Adivasis in India, funded by the ESRC and ERC.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Muhtar Habibi, Agrarian Capitalism in Neoliberal Indonesia: Class, Production and Reproduction
  • Prince Asafu-Adjaye, Trade Union Responses to Neoliberalism in Ghana
  • Roshni Menon, Land-pooling for the ‘smart city’ of Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh: Inclusive development or land dispossession in a different guise?

Other Modules Taught:

Theory, Policy and Practice of Development

Labour, Social Movements and Development

Introduction to Political Economy of Development


Jens has researched extensively in northern India since the early 1990s, with particular interests in agrarian change, caste and labour relations, including seasonal domestic labour migration. He has also undertaken many shorter field research visits to many other parts of India and in 2000-2002 he worked as Governance Advisor for the Great Lakes (Africa) region in the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government.


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
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Available for
  • Briefings
  • Short Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Oceania
Country Expertise
  • India


Authored Books

Alpa, Shah and Lerche, Jens and Axelby, Richard and Benbabaali, Dalel and Donegan, Brendan and Raj, Jayaseelan and Thakur, Vikramaditya (2018) Ground Down by Growth. Tribe, Caste, Class, and Inequality in Twenty-First Century India. London and New Delhi: Pluto Press and Oxford University Press.

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens and Axelby, Richard and Denbabaali, D. and Donegan, Brendan and Raj, Jayaseelan and Thakur, Vikramaditya (2017) Ground Down by Growth: Inequality in 21st century India. London: Pluto.


Pattenden, Jonathan and Campling, Liam and Castañón Ballivián, Enrique and Gras, Carla and Lerche, Jens and O'Laughlin, Bridget and Oya, Carlos and Pérez Niño, Helena and Sinha, Shreya (2021) 'Introduction: Covid‐19 and the conditions and struggles of agrarian classes of labour'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (21) 3, pp 582-590.

Lerche, Jens and Shah, Alpa (2021) 'Capitalism and Conjugated Oppression: Race, Caste, Tribe, Gender and Class in India'. Anveshi Broadsheet 15, pp 13-15.

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2021) 'Black Lives Matter, Capital and Ideology: Spiralling out from India'. British Journal of Sociology, (72) 1, 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 Geographers, (45) 4, pp 719-734.

Lerche, Jens and Alpa, Shah (2018) 'Conjugated oppression within contemporary capitalism: class, caste, tribe and agrarian change in India'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (45) 5-6, pp 927-949.

Campling, Liam and Lerche, Jens (2016) 'Introduction to the Special Issue: The Political Economy of Agrarian Change: Essays in Appreciation of Henry Bernstein'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (16) 3, pp 365-369.

Lerche, Jens (2013) 'The Agrarian Question in Neoliberal India: Agrarian Transition Bypassed?'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (13) 3, pp 382-404.

Lerche, Jens and Shah, Alpa and Harriss-White, Barbara (2013) 'Introduction: Agrarian Questions and Left Politics in India'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (13) 3, pp 337-350.

Lerche, Jens (2012) 'Labour Regulations and Labour Standards in India: Decent Work?'. Global Labour Journal, (3) 1, pp 16-39.

Lerche, Jens and Guérin, Isabelle and Srivastava, Ravi (2012) 'Guest editors' introduction'. Global Labour Journal, (3) 1, pp 1-15.

Lerche, Jens (2012) 'Questioni agrarie o questioni del lavoro? La questione agraria e la sue irrilevanza per il lavoro rurale nell'India neo-liberista'. Soliolologia Del Lavoro 128, pp 76-105.

Lerche, Jens (2011) 'Agrarian Crisis and Agrarian Questions in India'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (11) 1, pp 104-118.

Lerche, Jens (2008) 'Is Forced Labour an Isolated Problem in Developing Countries?'. Development Viewpoint 8.

Lerche, Jens (2008) 'Transnational Advocacy Networks and Affirmative Action for Dalits in India'. Development and Change, (39) 2, pp 239-261.

Lerche, Jens (2007) 'A Global Alliance against Forced Labour? Unfree Labour, Neo-Liberal Globalization and the International Labour Organization'. Journal of Agrarian Change, (7) 4, pp 424-52.

Lerche, Jens (2000) 'Stating the Difference: State, Discourse and Class Reproduction in Uttar Pradesh, India'. Development and Change, (31) 4, pp 857-87.

Lerche, Jens (1999) 'Politics of the poor: Agricultural labourers and political transformations in Uttar Pradesh'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (26) 2/3, pp 182-241.

Kapadia, Karin and Lerche, Jens (1999) 'Introduction to Journal of Peasant Studies volume 26'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (26) 2/3, pp 1-9.

Lerche, Jens (1998) 'Agricultural Labourers, the State and Agrarian Transition in Uttar Pradesh'. Economic and Political Weekly, (33) 13, pp A29-A35.

Lerche, Jens (1997) 'Is Bonded Labour a Bound category? Reconceptualising Agrarian Conflict in India'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (22) 3, pp 484-515.

Edited Books or Journals

Jeffery, Roger and Jeffrey, Craig and Lerche, Jens, (eds.), (2014) Development Failure and Identity Politics in Uttar Pradesh. Delhi: Sage.

Jeffery, Roger and Lerche, Jens, (eds.), (2003) Social and Political Change in Uttar Pradesh: European Perspectives. New Delhi: Manohar (India).

Byres, T.J. and Kapadia, Karin and Lerche, Jens, (eds.), (1999) Rural Labour Relations in India. London: Frank Cass. (Library of Peasant Studies).

Book Chapters

Lerche, Jens (2022) 'Grounding Labour Regimes Analysis in Agrarian Political Economy'. In: Baglioni, Elena and Campling, Liam and Coe, Neil M. and Smith, Adrian, (eds.), Labour Regimes and Global Production. Newcastle: Agenda Publishing.

Lerche, Jens (2014) 'Regional patterns of agrarian accumulation in India'. In: Heyer, Judith and Harriss-White, Barbara, (eds.), Indian Capitalism in Development. London: Routledge, pp 46-65.

Lerche, Jens (2010) 'From ‘Rural Labour’ to ‘Classes of Labour’: Class Fragmentation, Caste and Class Struggle at the Bottom of the Indian Labour Hierarchy'. In: Harriss-White, Barbara and Heyer, Judith, (eds.), The Comparative Political Economy of Development. Africa and South Asia. London: Routledge, pp 66-87.

Lerche, Jens and Jeffery, Roger (2003) 'Uttar Pradesh: Into the Twenty-First Century'. In: Lerche, Jens and Jeffery, Roger, (eds.), Social and Political Change in Uttar Pradesh. European Perspectives.. New Delhi: Manohar, pp 17-53.

Lerche, Jens (2003) 'Hamlet, Village and Region: Caste and Class Differences between Low-Caste Mobilization in East and West UP'. In: Lerche, Jens and Jeffery, Roger, (eds.), Social and Political Change in Uttar Pradesh. European Perspectives.. New Delhi: Manohar, pp 181-198.

Lerche, Jens (2000) 'Dimensions of Dominance: Class and State in Uttar Pradesh'. In: Fuller, C. J. and Bénéï, Véronique, (eds.), The Everyday State and Society in Modern India. Delhi: Social Science Press, pp 91-114.

Monographs and Working Papers

Bosc, Igor and Lerche, Jens and Shah, Alpa and Fajerman, Miranda and Wadhawan, Neha (2022) Understanding patterns of structural discrimination of migrant and other workers in some countries of South and West Asia. Geneva: ILO Background Paper.

Lerche, Jens and , (2017) The Triple Absence of Labour Rights: Triangular Labour Relations and Informalisation in the Construction and Garment Sectors in Delhi and Shanghai.. London: SOAS University of London.

Lerche, Jens (2011) The Unfree Labour Category and Unfree Labour Estimates: A Continuum within Low-End Labour Relations. Manchester: Manchester Papers in Political Economy , CSPE.

Lerche, Jens and Pincus, Jonathan and Weeks, John (2004) Poverty Reduction Strategy Process and National Development Strategies in Asia: A Report to DFID. London: Centre for Development Policy and Research, SOAS University of London.

Book Reviews

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2015) 'India’s Democracy: Illusion of Inclusion'. Economic and Political Weekly, (50) 41, pp 33-36.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Lerche, Jens and Shah, Alpa (2022) Interview : Jens Lerche and Alpa Shah.

Lerche, Jens (2021) Jat Power and the Spread of the Farm Protests in Northern India.

Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens (2020) Five issues hidden behind the exodus of India’s migrant labour under the Covid-19 lockdown.


Lerche, Jens (2015) 'ILO campaigns: missing the wood for the trees?'.

Lerche, Jens (2015) 'Making India? The Labour Law Reforms of Narendra Modi’s Government' South Asia Notes, SOAS South Asia Institute Blog.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 2nd October 2022, 18:27 Europe/London.