SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Jens Lerche

MA, PhD (Copenhagen)
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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
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
On Sabbatical:
Term 1 (18/19)


Jens has an MA and PhD in Geography from the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen, but sees himself more as a sociologist than a geographer. His research interests include labour and the ILO, and labour, agrarian relations and caste in India and he has researched extensively in northern India. Recent publications include articles on work hierarchies and social mobilisation and on agrarian transition and agrarian crisis an Indian context, and analysis of tensions in the social protection agenda. He is editor of the Journal of Agrarian Change. His present research is on labour conditions and the working poor in India and China, funded by the ESRC and DFID.


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Enrique CastaƱon ,
  • Joe Buckley, The relationship between changing working conditions and forms of labour activism in southern Vietnam's garment and textile industry
  • Muhtar Habibi, Agrarian Capitalism in Neoliberal Indonesia: Class, Production and Reproduction
  • Prince Asafu-Adjaye, Trade Union Responses to Neoliberalism in Ghana
  • Shreya Sinha, Agrarian Accumulation in Liberalised India: A Study of Capitalist Farmers in Punjab


Jens has researched extensively in northern India and Nepal, with particular interests in agrarian change, rural labour relations, and state institutions and development. In 2000-2002 he took leave from the School to act as Governance Advisor for the Great Lakes (Africa) region in the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government, in which capacity he was centrally concerned with post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction in Rwanda.


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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, Delel 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 (India).

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


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.

Lerche, Jens and Shah, Alpa (2018) 'Conjugated Oppression under Contemporary Capitalism: Class Relations, Social Oppression and Agrarian Change in India'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (45) 5. [Forthcoming]

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

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, no), pp 857-87.

Lerche, Jens (1999) 'Politics of the poor: Agriculture Labourers and Political Transformations in North India'. Journal of Peasant Studies, (26 N 2), pp 182-241.

Kapadia, Karen and Lerche, Jens (1999) 'Introduction'. 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, R and Lerche, J, (eds.), (2003) Social and Political Change in Uttar Pradesh. New Delhi: Manohar (India).

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

Book Chapters

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, R. (2003) 'Uttar Pradesh: Into the Twenty-First Century'. In: Lerche, J. and Jeffery, R., (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, J. and Jeffery, R., (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, V., (eds.), The Everyday State and Society in Modern India. Delhi: Social Science Press, pp 91-114.

Monographs and Working Papers

Lerche, Jens and Mezzandri, Alessandra and Chang, Dae-Oup and Ngai, Pun and Huilin, Ku and Aiyu, Liu and Srivastava, Ravi (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.


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 Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 06:45 Europe/London.