My research interests include political economy focusing on policy reform, capital-labour- interaction, changing nature of work and its politics and political participation. My research interests traverse the debates on globalisation, neoliberalism, state, labour regimes, business systems, political parties and democratic participation. Drawing on my training in politics and critical studies my research carefully examines the deep and complex linkages between structural factors (macroeconomy, global interdependence), institutional legacies (institutions of governance, laws, policies), political actors (parties and interest groups) and subjective positions (individuals, citizens) through the lens of political economy.
The courses that I teach at present or have taught previously share and build upon my interest and extensive training in political economy, labour and Indian politics. In Presidency University, I offer and teach courses on foundations of political economy, Global Political Economy and India’s Political Economy. The former was designed as an undergraduate level introduction to major theories of state- market interaction while the latter courses are postgraduate courses to explore Indian politics through the lens of political economy. In addition, I also teach research methods and Indian Politics. At the Oxford Department of International Development, I convened the History and Politics of Development course and my teaching focused on questions of State and Development in the Global South. I examined the idea of the state as an actor of development by problematizing the conception of the state; unpacking the dimensions of state actions and elaborating the competing theoretical frameworks to explain state behaviour.
My monograph Globalization and Labour Reforms: The Politics of Interest Groups and Partisan Governments (Oxford University Press, 2017) examines the variations in labour policy as well as labour market outcomes under conditions of globalisation. Engaging with debates on Globalisation and labour, Policy autonomy, Varieties of Capitalism, Welfare state, Neo-Institutionalism, it examines labour policy and market variations through a comparative study of sub-national states of India. Through a historical institutional framework, the book contends that labour policy variation can largely be explained through partisan governments and political competition in the sub-national states. The outcome of labour market is conditioned by the dynamics between interest groups and the government embedded in specific political economy. The research is mixed method connecting qualitative and quantitative data.
My latest book Limits of Bargaining: Capital, Labour and the State in Contemporary India (Cambridge University Press, 2019) analyses the modalities of capital-labour negotiations in the context of economic liberalisation through a combination of ethnographic interviews, surveys, and textual reading of collective bargaining agreement. The book illustrates the everyday interactions between labour, management, competing trade unions that shape bargaining processes and outcomes and highlights the limits as bargaining remains endogenous to the interplay of the market, technology and the institutions of the state. The book is the outcome of a sponsored research by Indian Council for Social Science Research on Trade unions in Urban Labour Markets.
My current research engages with two distinct but important contemporary themes, specifically the debates on the changing nature of work and political participation. The research on the changing nature of work resonates the theme of capital and labour but from the analytical anchor of ‘work’. The rise of the platform economy has accentuated the shifts in the nature of work reflected through short-term contracts and independent contractors. While the shifts in the labour market have been reflected upon I am interested in the process of regulation, discipline, and construction of worker subjectivities in the new economy by engaging in debates on labour process theory. The second project I have been working on concerns political participation in India. As a part of Electoral Integrity Project directed by Pippa Norris, I was involved in examining the quality of elections and role of election observation missions. I am part the sub-national perceptions of electoral integrity in India collaborating with Ferran Martinez-i-coma and Max Groemping towards an evaluation of the quality of sub-national assembly elections and examining the variations in electoral participation.
A future research agenda that I am developing for funding is the political economy of health based on a sub-national comparison of Indian states. The project will be tentatively titled Political economy of health: politics, ideology and power in health intervention and will take a critical, approach to health policy variation across sub-national states focusing on the expenditure and nature of health investment as the dependent variable. The project will use health policy as an entry point into debates on democracy, state-market relationship and institutional legacies.
06/2013 – PhD in Politics and International Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).
08/2004 - M.A in Political Science, Calcutta University
06/2002 - B.A in Political Science, Presidency College
2013: Doctor of Philosophy, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Thesis title ‘Globalisation, Policy Convergence and Labour Market: the political economy of reform’
2004: Master of Arts in Political Science, Calcutta University, Kolkata. First Class
2002: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Presidency College (Calcutta University).First Class
Research / Administrative Experience+
2015- Senior Visiting Fellow, Electoral Integrity Project, University of Sydney
2014 – Co Principal Investigator in Indian Council for Social Science Research sponsored project. Project title ‘Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining in Urban Labour Markets: The Case of West Bengal’. Project Director Prof. Achin Chakraborty. Project value Rs. 44.92 lakhs.
2012 – Country Expert for V-Dem project conducted by the University of Notre Dame Center for Research Computing, the University of Gothenburg Department of Political Science, and the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies
2011 - Head of the Department, Department of Political Science, S.A. Jaipuria College, Kolkata
2005- Research Scholar, Peace Studies, Department of History, Calcutta University
Teaching / Other Experience+
12/2012- present –Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Presidency University, India
07/2017- 6/2019 - Departmental Lecturer in South Asian Politics and Development, Oxford Department of International Development, Oxford University
07/2006 - 11/2012 – Full-Time Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Seth Anandaram Jaipuria College, Kolkata, India.
06/2007- 5/2008 - Resource person in Political Science, Netaji Open University
05/2006 - 09/2008 – Honorary Guest Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Presidency College, Kolkata, India.
Post Graduate Supervision+
Mr. Rahul Ranjan -
Mrs. Srijita Majumdar -
Mrs. Sreya Chatterjee -
Life Member of Indian Political Science Association since 2006
Life Member of West Bengal Political Science Association since 2006
Member London International Development Centre since 2008
Chakraborty, A., Chowdhury, S., Banerjee, S., & Mahmood, Z., Limits of Bargaining: Capital, Labour and the State in Contemporary India, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019
Mahmood, Zaad. Globalization and Labour Reforms: The Politics of Interest Groups and Partisan Governments. New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2017
Referred Journal Articles
Mahmood, Zaad and Achin Chakraborty. "The pandemic and the state: Interrogating capacity and response to COVID-19 in West Bengal," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2022-89, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
Mahmood, Zaad, and Supurna Banerjee. “Towards What End? Collective Bargaining and the Making and Unmaking of the Working Class.” Economic and Industrial Democracy, (2022). https://doi.org/10.1177/0143831X221096863.
Mahmood, Zaad. "Revisiting Seven Decades of India’s Achievements and Challenges." Daxiyangguo 27 (2021): 49-67
Chatterjee, Niladri, Zaad Mahmood and Eleonor Marcussen. “Politics of Vaccine Nationalism in India: Global and Domestic Implications,” Forum for Development Studies 48, no 2 (2021): 357-369
Mahmood, Zaad. “Book Review: Kanta Murali. 2017. Caste, Class and Capital: The Social and Political Origins of Economic Policy in India.” Journal of South Asian Development 15, no. 3 (2020): 415–18.
Mahmood, Zaad. “Governance and Electoral Integrity: Evidence from Subnational India.” Studies in Indian Politics 8, no. 2 (2020): 230–46.
Mahmood, Zaad and Supurna Banerjee. “The State in Industrial Relations: Neoliberal Intervention or Intervening in Neoliberalism?.” Indian Journal of Labour Economics 63, no. 3 (2020): 1-22
Zaad Mahmood. "Politics Sans Economics: Commentary on the Political Economy of Demonetization in India." Revista Conjuntura Austral 8, no. 41 (2017): 71-85.
Banerjee, Supurna, and Zaad Mahmood. "Judicial Intervention and Industrial Relations: Exploring Industrial Disputes Cases in West Bengal." Industrial Law Journal 46, no. 3 (2017): 366-96.
Saez, Lawrence, and Zaad Mahmood. "Business and Labor Market Flexibility in India: The Importance of Caste." Business and Politics 18, no. 02 (2016): 171-98.
Mahmood Zaad. “Trade Unions, Politics & Reform in India.” Indian Journal of Industrial Relations 51, no. 4 (2016): 531-549.
Das, Ritanjan, and Mahmood, Zaad. "Contradictions, Negotiations and Reform: The Story of Left Policy Transition in West Bengal." Journal of South Asian Development 10, no. 2 (2015): 199-229.
Mahmood, Zaad and Lawrence Saez. “The Business System in India,” In Asian Business and Management: Theory, Practice and Perspectives, edited by Harukiyo Hasegawa and Michael Witt, 3rd Edition, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019
Mahmood, Zaad. “Politics of Labour Market: relocating the role of partisan politics in labour reform,” In Dynamics of Globalization and Industrial Relations in India, edited by K.R. Shyam Sundar, New Delhi: Daanish publishers, 2016
Mahmood, Zaad. “The essence of power: connotations of a contested concept,” In Political Sociology, edited by Pradip Basu, Kolkata: Setu publishers, 2015
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