Neethi P

Senior Consultant - Academics & Research | neethip at iihs dot ac dot in

2014    PhD, Economics, Centre for Development Studies, JNU, New Delhi
2007    MPhil, Applied Economics, Centre for Development Studies, JNU, New Delhi
2004    MA, Economics, Dr John Matthai Centre, University of Calicut, Calicut
2002    BA, Economics, Vimala College, University of Calicut, Thrissur




Countries: India, United States
States: Karnataka, Kerala
Cities: Bangalore, Trivandrum, Cochin, Ahmedabad
Languages: English, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam

Neethi’s interests broadly pertain to globalisation and labour, with a focus on labour informality, analysing diverse informal sectors and their associated workers. Striving to understand the nuances of labour-management relations and everyday labour politics in these informal sectors, Neethi focuses on informality among women workers and also various forms of upcoming informal or alternative labour associations/organisations, and their unique labour response strategies.


Neethi’s research, for over a decade, has covered a wide variety of informal workers/sectors including garment, electronics, ports, home-based work, street vendors, and recently, municipal sanitation workers and sex workers. Her research encompasses issues such as labour-management relations, recruitment strategies, labour control mechanisms, labour response mechanisms, labour-technology relations, emerging forms of labour movements, and formation of alternative labour organisation/associations. While addressing these concerns, Neethi’s approach moves away from economic orthodoxy and borrows from sociological, anthropological, and ethnographic approaches. This allows her to bring out local variability and uneven contours in labour markets whilst charting the complex landscape in which contemporary labour lives, works, and negotiates.


For her doctoral work in this field, she was awarded a Fulbright DPR Fellowship at the University of Georgia for a year. Apart from a string of international peer reviewed journal articles, Neethi also authored ‘Globalization Lived Locally: A Labour Geography Perspective’, published under Oxford University Press in 2016. Prior to joining IIHS, Neethi was Assistant Professor at the School of Development, Azim Premji University.


At IIHS, she is involved in designing and carrying out research on various aspects of urban employment.


  • Neethi, P., & Kamath, A. (2022). Urban undesirables: City transition and street-based sex work in Bangalore. Cambridge University Press.
  • Neethi, P. (2016). Globalization lived locally: A labour geography perspective. Oxford, UK.: Oxford University Press.


Journal Articles

  • Neethi, P., & Rao, D. (2023). Memory, identity and deindustrialization: Reflections from bygone mill‐scapes of Bangalore, India. Development and Change.
  • Kamath, A., & Neethi, P. (2021). Disappearing spaces and betraying allies: Urban transition and street-based sex work in Bangalore. Globalizations.
  • Kamath, A., & Neethi, P. (2021). Body politics and the politics of technology: Technological experiences among street-based sex workers in Bangalore. Gender, Technology and Development, 25(3), 294-310.
  • Neethi, P. (2020). New revanchism and the urban undesirables: Street-based sex workers of Bangalore. City: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action, 24(5-6), 759-777.
  • Neethi, P., Kamath, A., & Paul, A. M. (2019). Everyday place making through social capital among street vendors at Manek Chowk, Gujarat, India. Space and Culture.
  • Neethi, P. (2014). Home-based work and issues of gender and space. Economic and Political Weekly, 49(17), 88-96.
  • Neethi, P. (2012). Globalization lived locally: Investigating Kerala’s local labour control regimes. Development and Change, 43(6), 1239-1263.
  • Padmanabhan, N. (2012). Globalisation lived locally: A labour geography perspective on control, conflict and response among workers in Kerala. Antipode, 44(3), 971-992.
  • Neethi, P. (2008). Contract work in the organised manufacturing sector: A disaggregated analysis of trends and their implications. Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 51(4), 559-573.


Book chapters

  • Neethi, P., Kamath, A., & Mundra, S. (2020). A technological panacea for women garbage collectors. In A. Kamath (Ed.)., The social context of technological experiences: Three studies from India (pp. 116-140). Routledge.
  • Neethi, P. (2016) Labour control and responses: women workers in an apparel park in Kerala. In S. Raju & S. Jatrana (Eds.), Women workers in urban India (pp. 228-255). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Other Writing

  • Neethi, P. (2023, October 10). Mental health and the floundering informal worker. The Hindu.
  • Neethi, P. (2022, July 11). World population day: India has a demographic dividend to reap – but will it?. Science The Wire.
  • Neethi, P., Chowdhury, A. R., & Ravindranath, D. (2022, March 8). International women’s day | working women too, with a dream of good childcare. The Hindu.
  • Kamath, A., & Neethi, P. (2022, February 28). Bengaluru’s sex workers: Old work spaces are all gone, the city now considers them ‘undesirables’. Citizen Matters.
  • Kombe, W. J., Neethi, P., Jagadeesh, K., & Raj, A. (2022). The state of inequalities in Sub-Saharan African and Asian cities (GOLD VI Working Paper Series, no. 7). UCLG and KNOW.
  • Neethi, P., & Kamath, A.  (2021, January 13). Wistron plant turmoil is a consequence of privileging foreign capital over domestic workers. The Wire.
  • Neethi, P. (2020, November 17). Fallen through the cracks. The Hindu.
  • Neethi, P., & Kamath, A. (2020, March 23). How the coronavirus outbreak Is also a socio-economic inequality issue. The Wire.
  • Neethi, P. (2019). [Review of the book Undervalued Dissent: Informal Workers’ Politics in India by Manjusha Nair]. Global Labour Journal, 10(2), 180-182.
  • Neethi, P., & Shivakumar, N. (2019, December 25). New rules, old problems. The Hindu.
  • Neethi, P., & Kamath, A. (2018, February 21). Wasn’t this city made for you and me? Sex workers and their shrinking spaces. The News Minute.
  • Neethi P. (2013). Some pictures of local labour in the time of globalisation. Sanghaditha.
  • Neethi P. (2011). Workplaces where humaneness is decimated. Malayalam Varikha.
  • Neethi P. (2009) Globalisation lived locally: New forms of control, conflict and response among the labour in Kerala, examined through a labour geography lens (CDS Working Papers No. 417). Kerala, India: Centre for Development Studies.
  • Neethi P. (2008, June 28). Globalisation and labour market flexibility: A case of contract workers in organised manufacturing sector in India. Malayalam Varikha.
  • Kamath, A., & Neethi, P. (2021). Re-imagining urban spaces and reconfiguring human ecology street-based sex workers as urban Pseudoinvisibles in Bangalore City. In Urban imaginaries 2021: IIHS annual research conference proceedings (pp. 99 -103).  Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
  • Panel Speaker, Webinar on ‘Is female participation in the workforce the reason for declining birthrates’, Economics, Politics and Society interest group of IIM- Kozhikode, October 2021
  • Co-presented (virtual) a Paper titled ‘Body Politics and Politics of Technology: Technological Experiences of among Street-Based Sex Workers in Bangalore’ , Annual Meeting of Society for Social Studies of Science (4s) , organised from Toronto, October 2021
  • Co-presented (virtual) a Paper titled ‘Urban Transition and Street-based Sex Work in Bangalore’, ASA- RC 21, organised from Antwerp, July 2021
  • Panel speaker, Global Webinar on The Impact of COVID-19 on Informal Workers: What can we learn, Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), South Africa, April 2021
  • Panel speaker, Webcast on Electronics Manufacturing: China and India in the Spotlight, Can Electronics be Made Socially Sustainable?  Asia Society, Switzerland, April 2021
  • Invited speaker for the techniques in qualitative research, Centre for Equity Studies at New Delhi, November 2017
  • Department of Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong, March 2017
  • Panellist on Women Work and Employment, 15th National Conference of Women’s Studies, Chennai, January 2017
  • Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore 6th October 2016
  • Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore, 21st April 2016
  • Department of Geography Colloquium Series, University of Georgia, 30th March 2012
  • Department of Sociology Colloquium Series, University of Georgia, 23rd March 2012
  • Department of Development Sociology Colloquium, Cornell University 27th February 2012
  • ILR Workshop Series, Cornell University 28th February 2012
  • Department of Geography Colloquium Series, University of Minnesota 17th February 2012
  • Summer Institute in Economic Geography, Vancouver, Canada 27th June – 2nd July 2010
  • Global Issues and Local Challenges to Development Dept. of Economics, Central University of Kerala 23rd-24th April 2010
  • SEWA Round Table on Women’s Labour, Women, and Work, 7th-8th March 2009, at CDS, Trivandrum
  • International Conference on Employment Opportunities and Public Employment Policy in Globalising India, 3rd-5th April 2008, at CDS, Trivandrum.
  • Research Methods in Labour Economics, September 2006, at VV Giri National Labour Institute, Noida.