Research

My specialist areas are: Kerala, South India, South Asia, Gulf countries: social  reproduction and stratification; popular religion (Hinduism & Islam) and reform movements; migration; masculinity; consumption; relations between economic and religious practice; entrepreneurship and trade networks.

I conducted my doctoral research in rural Kerala, South India, and published two joint monographs, one on issues of stratification, identity and social mobility among an ex-'untouchable' community (Social Mobility in Kerala, 2000, Pluto Press), and another on masculinities (Men and Masculinity in South India, 2007, Anthem Press).  My recent research examines contemporary transformations of south Indian Muslims communities, with fieldwork in Kozhikode (Calicut) and a number of Gulf countries. On the basis of this research, I have co-edited a special issue of Modern Asian Studies on “Islamic Reform movements in South Asia’ (with C. Osella), a special issue of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies on “The Politics of Food in South Asia” (with C. Osella) 
and a special issue of Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute on “Islam, Politics and Modernity” (with B. Soares). I have recently concluded a joint ESRC/DfID-funded research project (with R. Stirrat and T. Widger) on charity, philanthropy and development in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This project led to the publication of co-edited volume (with D Rudnyckyj) entiled Religion and the Morality of the Market (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and special issue of Modern Asian Studies (with S. Ramaswamy) on "Charity and Philanthropy in South Asia." (2018).  

I am currently involved in two major research projects.  In the first, I explore trade network between China, South India and Dubai (TRODITIES research programme funded by the ERC and led by Prof Magnus Marsden) and have conducted fieldwork in Yiwu (China), Ernakulam (Kerala, India) and Dubai (UAE).  The second research (funded by the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme) explores new ways to make traditional fishing in the south Indian state of Kerala safer and sustainable by co-producing knowledge on marine weather and fish resources with artisanal fishers and weather forecasters.