I am Associate Professor at the London School of Economics (LSE)'s Department of International Development.  I previously studied, worked and taught at the Universities of Oxford and York. For more details, including contact info, please see my departmental web page.

I research mainly about ethnic conflict (particularly in South Asia), political order, and development theory.

My 2018 book, Nationalism, Development and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka (CUP) asks why Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict has been so protracted, and so resistant to solution? What explains the enduring political significance of Sinhala nationalism? What is the relationship between market reform and conflict? Why did the Norwegian-sponsored peace process collapse? How is the Rajapaksa phenomenon to be understood?

Review by Benjamin Brown

IN PRESS 2022/23

1. Can the Anti- Politics Machine be Dismantled?  in NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY

....in which I discuss Captain Kirk, Donald Rumsfeld, the Loch Ness monster, Carl Schmitt, and a Tibetan yeti.

2. Ethnic Domination and Liberal Democracy in Sri Lanka in JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY ASIA

…”the infrastructure of ethnic domination is situated not in the solidity of concrete buildings, legal codes, uniformed functionaries, and the monopoly of violence, but in the way that it is collectively understood, rationalised, and acted upon.”


Illiberal Peacebuilding in Asia: A Comparative Overview, (2020: Conflict, Security & Development 20(1): Co-edited Special Issue on Illiberal Peacebuilding in Asia [co-authored with Claire Smith, Lars Waldorf and Gerard McCarthy].  DOI: 10.1080/14678802.2019.1705066

Parallel Governance and Political Order in Contested Territory: Evidence from the Indo-Naga Ceasefire. (2019: with Shalaka Thakur, Asian Security 15(3), pp.285-303. DOI: 10.1080/14799855.2018.1455185

Nationalism, Development and Ethnic Conflict in  Sri Lanka (2018: Cambridge University Press)

Ineptitude, Ignorance, or Intent? The Social Construction of Failure in  Development (2018 World Development 106, pp.238-247) DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.01.013

The Politics of Natural Disasters in Protracted Conflict: The 2014 Flood in Kashmir ( 2017 Oxford Development Studies 45(4), pp.424-442 ) - with Sameer Yasir. - awarded the Sanjaya Lall prize for best article.

Demonic Violence and Moral Panic in Post-War Sri Lanka (Journal of Asian Studies 74(4) August 2015), doi:10.1017/S0021911815000522)


Neoliberalism as Concept, (Economy and Society 44(2) May 2015, doi: 10.1080/03085147.2015.1013356)

Economic Development and the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka  (Third World Quarterly 36(4) April 2015 doi:10.1080/01436597.2015.1024400  


07.02.2023: University of Bath - Can the anti-politics machine be dismantled?

20.01.2023: University of Manchester - Can the anti-politics machine be dismantled?

03.11.2022: University of Zurich - Ethnic Domination and Liberal Democracy in Sri Lanka

19.10.2022: LSE - Can the anti-politics machine be dismantled?


2019: Kashmir after the lockdown (Independent, UK) - [ungated]

2018: The Second Coming of Mahinda Rajapaksa (The Wire)

2016: Who Elected Donald Trump? (The Wire)

2015: Maithripala Sirisena: Clear Mandate, Uncertain Future (Firstpost)

2014: Narendra Modi and Baby Doll (Groundviews)