Photo of Grace Carswell

Grace Carswell
Reader in Human Geography (Geography)
T: +44 (0)1273 873399 or +44 (0)1273 877238


Grace's research interests include rural livelihoods, population-environment interactions and agricultural change. After an initial research focus on Eastern Africa (specifically Uganda and Ethiopia), Grace has shifted her attention to southern India. As part of a DfID-ESRC research project (2008-2010) she investigated changing livelihood strategies of rural populations that are increasingly dependent on, or affected by, export industries.  In particular she has been looking at the differentiated impacts of enhanced integration in the global economy on rural households, and ensuing transformations in rural social relations. In 2011-12 she undertook a research project exploring  India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, funded by the British Academy. In 2015 she undertook a pilot project examining how cards, documents and paperwork play a central role in ordinary citizen's engagement with the everyday state. Funded by the British Academy the project is entitled 'The materiality of citizenship and state-society interaction: A study of official documents, cards and paperwork in India.'

 Research Grants

2015-16  - The materiality of citizenship and state-society interaction: A study of official documents, cards and paperwork in India (British Academy)

2011-2012 - India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: livelihoods, gender and migration in Tamil Nadu (British Academy)

2008-2010 - Transforming Livelihoods: work, migration and poverty in the Tiruppur garment cluster, India (DfID-ESRC)

2001-2004 - Labour, institutions and social capital: Uganda (Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship)

Recent publications

Carswell, Grace, Chambers, Thomas and De Neve, Geert (2018) 'Waiting for the state: gender, citizenship and everyday encounters with bureaucracy in India', Environment and Planning C


Carswell G and G De Neve (2018) 'Towards a political economy of skill under liberalisation: The case of the Tiruppur garment cluster in south India', in J. Parry and C. Hann (eds) (2018) Precarious and formal labour in modern industrial settings Berghahn 


Carswell, G., G. De Neve and J. Heyer (2017) ‘Caste discrimination in contemporary Tamil Nadu: evidence from the Tiruppur textile region’, chapter in Manor J. and Jodhka S., (eds) Waning Hierarchies, Persisting Inequalities: Caste and Power in 21st Century India. Orient Blackswan.


Carswell, G (2016) Struggles over work take place at home: women’s decisions, choices and constraints in the Tiruppur textile industry, Geoforum, 77, 134-145.


Carswell, G., & Neve, G. (2015). Litigation against Political Organization? The Politics of Dalit Mobilization in Tamil Nadu, India. Development and Change, 46(5), 1106-1132


 Carswell G and G De Neve (2014) ‘Why Indian voters vote: Reflecting on rights, citizenship and democracy from a Tamil Nadu village’, Antipode 46(4):1032-53.


Carswell, G and G De Neve (2014) 'MGNREGA in Tamil Nadu: a Story of Success and Transformation', Journal of Agrarian Change 14(4): 564-585.


Carswell G and De Neve G (2014) ‘T-shirts and Tumblers: caste, dependency and work under neoliberalisation in south India,’ Contributions to Indian Sociology 48(1): 103-131.       


Carswell, G and G De Neve (2013) ‘Women at the crossroads: a village study of MGNREGA implementation in Tamil Nadu’, Economic and Political Weekly XLVIII(52): 82-93.


Carswell G and R Cripps (2013) ‘Sounding a note of caution: comparisons between official and ethnographic data on NREGA in Tamil Nadu’, Economic and Political Weekly 48(30): 25-28.


Carswell, G., (2013) ‘Dalits and local labour markets in rural India: experiences from  the Tiruppur textile region in Tamil Nadu’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38(2): 325-338.


Carswell G and De Neve G (2013) ‘Labouring for global markets: Conceptualising labour agency in Global Production Networks’, Geoforum 44(1): 62-79


Carswell G and De Neve G (2013) ‘From field to factory: Tracing bonded labour in the Coimbatore powerloom industry, Tamil Nadu’, Economy and Society 42(3): 430-353.


De Neve G and G Carswell (2011) ‘NREGA and the Return of Identity Politics in Western Tamil Nadu’, Forum for Development Studies 38(2): 205-210. 

Earlier publications

Carswell G (2007) Cultivating Success in Uganda: Kigezi farmers and colonial policies. Oxford: James Currey and British Institute of Eastern Africa series, and Ohio University Press.

Carswell G (2006) ‘Multiple historical geographies: responses and resistance to colonial conservation schemes in East Africa’, Journal of Historical Geography, 32(2): 398-421

Carswell G (2003) ‘Continuities in environmental narratives: the case of Kabale, Uganda, 1930-2000’, Environment and History 9(1): 3-29.

Carswell G (2003) ‘Food crops as cash crops: the case of colonial Kigezi, Uganda’, Journal of Agrarian Change 3(4): 521-551.

Carswell G (2003) ‘Soil conservation policies in colonial Kigezi, Uganda: successful implementation and an absence of resistance’, Chapter in W. Beinart and J. McGregor Social History and African Environments. Oxford: Heinemann and James Currey, pp131-154.

Carswell G (2002) ‘Livelihood diversification: increasing in importance or increasingly recognised? Evidence from southern Ethiopia’, Journal of International Development 14(6): 789-804.

Carswell G (2002) ‘Farmers and fallowing: agricultural change in Kigezi district, Uganda’, Geographical Journal 168(2): 130-40.