Dr Ipshita Basu

Dr Ipshita Basu

Dr Ipshita Basu is a political sociologist. Her research expertise is in the area of Development Justice, focusing on the political struggles of indigenous communities and marginalised urban groups in contexts of change and conflict. In her work, she has explained how Development Justice, is not just the goal of defending the resources and territories of marginalised communities but that it is do with representing their voice, values and way of being in the world and how this provides a collective alternative to mainstream development. These reflections, in the form of theory, epistemics and her own politics are positioned towards the just development futures agenda, which means considering how technological and sustainability commitments to address global challenges can potentially advance transformational justice for marginalised groups. Her research approach is strongly inter-disciplinary, combining political sociology approaches with psychology, geography and development studies, and she practices decolonial methods, which value equal partnership and provide alternatives to econometric data through art, narratives and performance.

The key themes in her research sum up as follows:

Governance, Citizenship and Accountability

Mobility Justice and Mobile Livelihoods

Sociology of Formal/Informal State and Political Systems 

Indigenous Self-Determination

Politics of the Poor

She writes a blog on the Politics of the New Normal , to explain how rapid changes in political societies in South Asia and Europe are built on old and new regimes of power, inequality and identities.

Ipshita is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education  Academy and for the last two years, as member of the University of Westminster's Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee, she has been leading strategic initiatives for Decolonising the UK University.

She holds a PhD in International Development from the University of Bath (2010), an M.Res in International Development (Bath, 2004) and an M.A. in Sociology (Warwick, 2002), all funded by studentships. Previously, she was Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in International Relations at the University of Surrey (2012-2015) and Head of Research at BRAC'S Institute of Governance and Development (2010-2012). 

Ipshita's theoretical and thematic expertise and  scholarly contribution sums up as follows:

Governance and Citizenship in Change and Crisis: Governance and accountability in developing countries are better understood through people and power than formal processes, and Ipshita has uncovered these dynamics in indigenous self-rule and civil war settings, followed by contexts of urban redevelopment, digital governance and the pandemic. The aim of this research is to improve the 'demand side' of social security, services and infrastructure for marginalised communities who are typically approached through a crisis narrative than one of empowerment and self-determination.

Social Justice Claims-Making and Democracy: Her second contribution is on identifying pathways for a progressive politics of recognition (indigenous minorities, ethnic/racial minorities, women) as it faces the dual challenge of right wing chauvinism and neoliberal politics. A decade ago, Ipshita's PhD thesis accounted for the centrality of 'politics' in social justice claims-making-  both as a normative grammar and a stage where competing actors play their part. 

Political Sociologies of Governance: This third strand of her research focuses on revealing the state as a social construction, as everyday practices and as a performance that shapes and is in turn shaped by the society over which it is supposed to govern. These investigations have focused primarily on indigenous governance in relation to resources and infrastructure, and then on urban regeneration as shaped by nationalist and technocratic ideologies. More recently, she has extended these investigations to 'mobility regimes' where movement both as an embodied practice and a livelihood reflects the sociologies of governance.


Co-Principal Investigator Rethinking Accountability for Digitised Futures in Bangladesh, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Oct 2022-Dec 2023, £100,000.

Co-Investigator My City (In)visible British Academy 2021-2022 £15,000

Principal Investigator Moving from the Margins: Explaining Just Mobility in South Asia's Post Pandemic Urban Age. Westminster Sustainable Cities and Urban Environments Seed Grant, £10,000.


Juweria Ali Ogaden Somali Resistance Against Ethiopian State Nationalism: A discursive Enquiry

Abdul Rashid Koroma  Post-Conflict Reintegration of Rebel Fighters in Sierra Leone  (2018)

If you are interested in research on politics of development and marginalised groups in the global south; digital state and accountability, decolonial methods please contact Ipshita directly with your research proposal and CV on basui@westminster.ac.uk

  • Centre for the Study of Democracy

In brief

Research areas

Democratic Governance, Development Justice, Indigenous Rights, Political Sociology of State, Urban Politics, Mobility Justice

Skills / expertise

Qualitative methods, International Collaborative projects and Decolonising Research Methodologies

Supervision interests

Political Sociology of State in Developing countries Urban Politics and Governance, Indigenous Rights, Politics of Poor