Loraine Kennedy is a CNRS Research Director and member of the Center for South Asian Studies (CEIAS) in Paris at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). Her research is located at the crossroads of political economy and political geography and focuses on state restructuring, economic development and the politics of metropolitan governance in India, with increasing interest in international comparison. Her most recent books include The Politics of Economic Restructuring in India. Economic Governance and State Spatial Rescaling (Routledge, 2014) and two co-edited volumes Power, Policy, and Protest: The Politics of India’s Special Economic Zones (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Greenfield Urban Development in India (Orient Blackswan, forthcoming). She has edited or co-edited five special issues including “State Restructuring and Emerging Patterns of Subnational Policy-Making and Governance in China and India” in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space (2017) and “Engaging the Urban from the Periphery” in SAMAJ - South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (2021). She is currently serving as a Trustee of the Glasgow-based Urban Studies Foundation and as President of the scientific council overseeing the network of French research institutes in Asia.


Title: Urbanizing Chennai. The role of urban peripheries in steering economic growth and pursuing sustainability.The objective of this research is to generate knowledge about Chennai’s specific urbanization trajectory through the study of economic and social processes, in conjunction with their spatial and environmental outcomes. This research aims to contribute to the emerging scholarship on peripheral urbanization in India, and across the global South.

The project will document and analyse the profound transformation of metropolitan Chennai that has transpired over the last three decades. In doing so, it will consolidate and expand on the existing knowledge base by bridging diverse research fields and identifying new sites of investigation. In particular, the project combines research tools from the geospatial sciences (e.g., remotes sensing, GIS) with social science methods to construct a multiscalar approach, building on recent academic work. It will map developments at the metropolitan scale as well as at the micro-level, through in-depth study of selected locations.

This ‘Urbanizing Chennai’ project has multiple connections with research currently conducted in the Department of Social Sciences, notably the RUSE project, and engages with the four main keywords: space, labor, environment, knowledge. Specifically, it articulates with ongoing work on urbanization, where broadly similar methodologies and themes are investigated, e.g., a combination of statistical and qualitative data sources, actor-focused research, agrarian urbanism, multiscalar governance arrangements. The project will be conducted with partners in India, mainly the MIDS in Chennai, and Europe (Universities of Cologne and Twente).


Click here for list of publications.

Other Publications

Loraine Kennedy. Actors and shifting scales of urban governance in India. Danielle Labbé; André Sorensen. International Handbook on Megacities and Megacity Regions, Edward Elgar, pp.101-118, 2020, 978 1 78897 269 7. ⟨10.4337/9781788972703⟩. ⟨halshs-03044381⟩

Loraine Kennedy, Ashima Sood. Greenfield Development as Tabula Rasa. Rescaling, Speculation and Governance on India's Urban Frontier. Economic and political weekly, Economic & Political Weekly, 2016. ⟨halshs-02001520⟩

Shubhra Gururani, Loraine Kennedy. The Co-production of Space, Politics and Subjectivities in India’s Urban Peripheries. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, Association pour la recherche sur l'Asie du Sud, 2021, ⟨10.4000/samaj.7365⟩. ⟨halshs-03395319⟩