Archives of Contemporary India

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Barbara Harriss-White Papers

Barbara Harriss-White Papers

"Agricultural markets are indispensable links in the food system between production and consumption. India’s agricultural markets are seen either as oligopolistic and socially constructed and protected together with masses of petty trade or competitive and efficient. But, in practice, they are neither. They are complex and layered…"

Renowned political and field economist Barbara Harriss-White (born 1946) received her education in Geography and later shifted her focus on agricultural science and agricultural economics. She worked at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge from 1972 to 1979. In 1987, she moved to the Department of International Development (Queen Elizabeth House), University of Oxford to teach agricultural economics and rural development, and later served as its Director (2004-2007). She was also Founder-Director of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme (CSASP).

After her retirement from the University of Oxford (2011), Barbara Harriss-White headed ESRC (The Economic and Social Research Council), DFID (Department of International Development) and was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Science (2013). She is a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London, and is an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. 

As a scholar of India's capitalist transformation focussing mainly on agricultural markets and informal economy across sectors and regions, she has written more than 250 articles and chapters in books. Her publications include: India Working: Essays on Economy and Society (2003); Trade Liberalisation and India’s Informal Economy (ed. 2007); Defining Poverty in Developing Countries (ed. 2007); and Rural Commercial Capital: Agricultural Markets in West Bengal (2008), which was awarded Edgar Graham Award, 2009.

About the Collection: The papers of Barbara Harriss-White are valuable for the study of market economy in South Asian subcontinent (1973-1993). These comprise mainly field surveys, data, statistics, analyses, research papers related to All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Dry land Agriculture in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, international grain trade, Indian food markets and political economy of markets, growth centres and market regulation.

Donor: Barbara Harriss-White
Acquisition: 2018