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Dr Sunita Abraham

Honorary Researcher

Sunita Abraham

Bowland North




My research examines the intersection of politics, poverty and development. I am interested in understanding the links between low politics (grassroots level) and high politics (national and provincial level) in different contexts. This involves the study of political power, contestation, collective action and capabilities through the lens of everyday state and society interactions. My previous research has examined these links in the context of local government (panchayats), NGOs and poor people in rural south India. My current research focuses on issues of inequality, race, gender, class and poverty. In particular, I am interested in examining how Higher Educational Institutions can bring about systemic change through various decolonising initiatives that link staff and students with each other and with local/regional communities  These research interests have been shaped by my work in academia and as a development practitioner both in the United Kingdom and in India.

Research Interests

My broad areas of interest include state-society relations, politics and development, multidimensional poverty, the capability approach, race and inequality, human rights, Indian politics, democratic decentralisation and local governance, Middle East politics, and NGOs. In, addition, I am interested in exploring the role of leaders in different development contexts – as citizens, as practitioners, as policy makers and as activists. I am also currently researching ways in which both the academic and development community can support the needs of refugees and asylum seekers both locally and nationally within the United Kingdom.

Career Details

At Lancaster University, I have taught on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses within the PPR department. In addition, I have also taught in LEC and the History department. My research work in relation to the areas of decolonising, race, inequality, gender and refugees has been located within the Educational Research department. In the UK, I have also worked as a practitioner with a national-level NGO based in Lancaster called Money for Madagascar, which funds community development projects on the island of Madagascar. In the past, I have worked with the Youth and Community Services in Lancashire. Before coming to the UK, I worked with a grassroots-NGO and an international school in India.

External Roles

1. East meets West Committee – this women's group based in Lancaster aims to build a better understanding amongst women from both the East and the West by providing various forums for interaction and learning. EmW is very involved in supporting local asylum seekers and refugees.

2. Lancaster Black History Committee - LBH is a new grassroots community group of local residents working to fight racism through education. It was formed in June 2020. The group came together in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in the city, which were led by school children, university students and local unions. The main aim of the group is to make Lancaster a leading example of how Black British histories can be included in all aspects of education, arts and society. The group includes representatives from across the community – local community activists, school-teachers, arts organisations, voluntary groups, academics and historians.