SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Navtej K Purewal

BA (Vassar College), MA (SOAS, London), PhD (Lancaster)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Navtej K Purewal
Department of Development Studies

Reader in Political Sociology and Development Studies

SOAS South Asia Institute

Deputy Director, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for Gender Studies

Member, Centre for Gender Studies

Dr Navtej K Purewal
Email address:
020 7898 4261
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Brunei Gallery
Office No:


Navtej Purewal did her BA in Political Science at Vassar College, MA in South Asia Area Studies at SOAS, and PhD in Development Studies from Lancaster University. She came to SOAS from the University of Manchester having worked in both Development Studies and Sociology there. 

Navtej is an inter-disciplinary social scientist whose broad area of focus is on the political sociology of South Asia, with a particular interest in gender, neoliberalism and social policy, and the on-going bordering processes across the region. 

Navtej is the lead (along with colleagues at TISS Mumbai) on a UKIERI network grant in collaboration between SOAS and four Indian universities.

She was the principal investigator on a large project (2008-2010) under the Religion and Society programme (AHRC and ESRC) on popular religious practices and transgressions of religious boundaries in South Asia focusing specifically on the region of Punjab across India and Pakistan.

She has an interest in feminist politics and has published and taught on topics relating to the violences and exclusions of gender injustice in South Asia including abortion, reproductive rights and female education in the context of neoliberal 'development' and governmentality.


Programmes Convened
Courses Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Anisha Thomas, Questions of Consent and Coercion: Understanding Sexual Assault Trials in India
  • Manpreet Kaur Gill, Higher Education, Globalisation, and Internationalisation: A Study of Contemporary Shifts in Higher Education in Punjab, India
  • Sreya Banerjea, 'Ladki Paraya Dhan Hoti Hai' (Girls are Others' Property')


Political sociology; South Asia; gender and feminism; reproductive rights; abortion policy;  popular and politicised religion in Punjab (India and Pakistan); neoliberalism and social policy.


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Available for
Regional Expertise
  • South Asia
Country Expertise
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Panjabi


Authored Books

Kalra, Surjit S. and Purewal, Navtej and Tyson-Ward, S. (2016) Complete Punjabi. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Purewal, Navtej K. (2010) Son Preference: Sex Selection, Gender and Culture in South Asia. Oxford: Berg.

Purewal, Navtej (2000) Living on the Margins: Poverty, Social Access and Shelter in South Asia. Farnham: Ashgate.


Purewal, Navtej (2018) 'Sex Selective Abortion, Neoliberal Patriarchy and Structural Violence in India'. Feminist Review. [Forthcoming]

Purewal, Navtej and Jasani, Rubina (2017) 'South Asian women elders and everyday lives of ‘care in the community’ in Britain: the neoliberal turn in social care and the myth of the family'. South Asian Diaspora, pp 1-17.

Purewal, Navtej and Eklund, Lisa (2017) ''Gendercide,' Abortion Policy, and the Disciplining of Prenatal Sex-selection in Neoliberal Europe'. Global Public Health, pp 1-18.

Eklund, Lisa and Purewal, Navtej (2017) 'The Bio-Politics of Population Control and Sex Selective Abortion in China and India'. Feminism & Psychology, (27) 1, pp 34-55.

Purewal, Navtej and Kalra, Virinder S. (2016) 'Adaptation and Incorporation in Ritual Practices at the Golden Temple, Amritsar'. Journal of Ritual Studies, (30) 1.

Purewal, Navtej (2015) 'Interrogating the Rights Discourse on Girls’ Education: Neo-Liberalism, Neo-Colonialism, and the Beijing Platform for Action'. IDS Bulletin, (46) 4, pp 47-53.

Purewal, Navtej K. and Hashmi, Naimatullah (2014) 'Between Returns and Respectability: Parental Attitudes towards Girls' Education in Rural Pakistan'. British Journal of Sociology of Education, (36) 7, pp 977-995.

Purewal, Navtej K. (2014) 'Disciplining the Sex Ratio:Exploring the Governmentality of Female Feticide in India'. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, (21) 5, pp 1-15.

Purewal, Navtej and Singh, Pritam (2013) 'The Resurgence of Bhindranwale’s Image in Contemporary Punjab'. Contemporary South Asia, (21) 2, pp 133-147.

Purewal, Navtej (2012) 'The Sound of Memory: Interview with Singer Mohinder K. Bhamra'. Feminist Review, (100).

Purewal, Navtej (2011) 'Sikh/Muslim Bhai-Bhai?: Towards a Social History of the Rabābī Tradition of Kirtan'. Sikh Formations, (7) 3, pp 365-382.

Purewal, Navtej K. and Kalra, Virinder S. (2010) 'Women’s ‘Popular’ Practices as Critique: Vernacular Religion in Indian and Pakistani Punjab'. Women's Studies International Forum, (33) 4, pp 383-389.

Purewal, Navtej (2006) 'Borderland Punjab'. Seminar.

Purewal, Navtej (2004) 'Sex Selection, ICTs and Feminist Internet-works'. Journal of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, (8) 1/2, pp 103-119.

Purewal, Navtej (2004) 'Paths to Housing Access for the Urban Poor in Amritsar'. Global Built Environment Review, (4) 2.

Purewal, Navtej (2003) 'The Indo-Pak Border: Displacements, Aggressions and Transgressions'. Contemporary South Asia, (12) 4, pp 539-556.

Purewal, Navtej (1997) 'Displaced Communities: Some Impacts of Partition on Poor Communities'. International Journal of Punjab Studies, (4) 1.

Edited Books or Journals

Purewal, Navtej and Wilson, Kalpana and Ung Loh, Jennifer, (eds.), (2018) Gender, Violence and the Neoliberal State in India. Palgrave Macmillan. (Special Issue of Feminist Review; Vol. 119). [Forthcoming]

Purewal, Navtej and Dingli, Sophia, (eds.), (2018) Gendering (In)security in Contemporary States of Exception. Palgrave-Macmillan. (Third World Thematics; Vol. 3 No. 2). [Forthcoming]

Book Chapters

Purewal, Navtej and Gill, Manpreet (2018) 'Flying High or Lying Low? Young Women’s Aspirations and Contestations through Higher Education in Punjab, India'. In: Sachdeva, Vivek and Pradhan, Queeny and Venugopalan, Anu, (eds.), Identities in South Asia: Conflicts and Assertions. New Delhi: Routledge. [Forthcoming]

Purewal, Navtej K. and Kamran, Tahir (2015) 'Pakistan's Religious Others: Reflections on the Minority Discourse on Christians in Punjab'. In: Long, Roger and Samad, Yunas and Singh, Gurharpal and Talbot, Ian, (eds.), State and Nation-building in Pakistan: Beyond Islam and Security. London: Routledge.

Purewal, Navtej K. and Lallie, Harjinder S. (2013) 'Sikh Kirtan in the Diaspora: Identity, Innovation and Revivalism'. In: Hawley, Michael, (ed.), The Sikh Diaspora: Theory, Agency, and Experience. Leiden: Brill Publishers, pp 381-403.

Kalra, Virinder S. and Ibad, Umber and Purewal, Navtej (2013) 'Diasporic Shrines: Transnational Networks linking South Asia through Pilgrimage and Welfare Development'. In: Yong, Tan Tai and Rahman, M.M., (eds.), Diaspora Engagement and Development in South Asia. Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan.

Purewal, Navtej (2009) 'Postcolonial History: Butalia’s The Other Side of Silence '. In: Devine, Fiona and Heath, Sue, (eds.), Doing Social Science: Evidence and Methods in Empirical Research. Oxford: Palgrave Macmillan.

Purewal, Navtej (2009) 'Gender, Seva and Social Institutions: A Case Study of the Bebe Nanaki Gurdwara and Charitable Trust, Birmingham, U.K'. In: Dusenbery, Verne and Tatla, Darshan S., (eds.), Sikh Diaspora Philanthropy in Punjab: Global Giving for Local Good. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Purewal, Navtej (2008) 'Gender-Caste Intersectionality in the Experiences of the Partition for the Urban Poor of Amritsar'. In: Butalia, Urvashi, (ed.), A Sense of the Past: Women Writing on the Partition of India. New Delhi: Zubaan Press.

Purewal, Navtej and Patel, Tulsi (2004) 'Origins and Contours of the Population Debate: Inequality, Population Politics, and NGOs'. In: Romero, Mary and Margolis, Eric, (eds.), The Blackwell Companion on Social Inequalities. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Purewal, Navtej (2003) 'Re-producing South Asian Wom(b)en: Female Feticide and the Spectacle of Culture '. In: Puwar, N. and Raghuram, P., (eds.), South Asian Women in the Diaspora. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Purewal, Navtej (2002) 'Reproducing Inequality: Women, Population and Structural Adjustment'. In: Ortiz Rocha de Arago, Paolo and Glavanis, Pandeli, (eds.), Globalisation and Structural Adjustment: Social and Economic Impacts. João Pessoa, Brazil: Editora Universitaria, University of Paraiba.

Purewal, Navtej (2001) 'New Roots for Rights: Women's Voices amidst Population and Development Strategies'. In: Rowbotham, Sheila and Linkogle, Stephanie, (eds.), Women Resist Globalization: Movements for Livelihoods and Rights. London: Zed Books.

Kalra, Virinder S. and Purewal, Navtej (1999) 'The Strut of the Peacock: Partition, Travel and the Indo-Pak Border'. In: Hutnyk, John and Kaur, Raminder, (eds.), Travel-Worlds: Journeys in Contemporary Cultural Politics. London: Zed Books.


Purewal, Navtej (2017) 'Pilgrimage: Sikhism'. [Forthcoming]

Purewal, Navtej K. (2014) 'The Two Iron Ladies of 1984: Remembering the Postcoloniality of Operation Bluestar 30 Years on' Discover Society.

Purewal, Navtej (2014) 'Painting by Numbers: Locating Missing Girls in the Sex Ratio' Discover Society.

Purewal, Navtej (2014) 'Beyond the Spectacle of Malala: A Critique of the Bandwagon of Girls’ Education' Discover Society.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 21st January 2018, 18:34 Europe/London.