Indira Arumugam

Balinese cockfights and the Melanesian Kula Ring, first encountered as an undergraduate are what inspired me to become an anthropologist. As part of my PhD, I spent 20 months in my native village in Tamilnadu, South India from which I had migrated to Singapore as a two-year old. Extrapolating from the kinship systems, religious rituals, practices of self-government and political ethics of ordinary villagers, my thesis argues for the existence of an indigenous political theory. My research is focused on the grounded historical and cultural analysis of key political and economic processes such as democracy, neo-liberal economics and globalization. Underpinning all this is keen enjoyment in doing ethnographic fieldwork which I believe is critical to understanding how ordinary people grapple with the complexities of their rapidly changing societies. In future, I hope to investigate the cultural and religious implications of neo-liberal economics in small-town India as well as the histories of globalization across the Bay of Bengal. I have a B.Sc (First Class Honours) in Sociology from NUS, an MSc (Distinction) and a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Office: AS1 03-13
Tel: 6516-8072
FASS profile page

Recent Publications

Review of Anand Pandian’s Crooked Stalks: Cultivating Virtue in South India, Contemporary South Asia 19 (2), June, 2011

“The Sociology of Indians”, in Tong Chee Kiong & Lian Kwen Fee (eds.) The Making of Singapore Sociology: Society and State. Singapore: Brill Times Academic Press, pp. 320-350, 2002.

Rudolph, Jurgen & Indira Arumugam, “More Than Meets The Eye: The Political Causes of the Asian Economic Crisis”, in The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 14, pp. 42-73, 2000.