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.