Academic Profile

Craig Jeffrey works on contemporary Indian society and global development, especially Indian democracy, educational transformation, globalization, and the politics of youth. He has published a large number of books and articles in these areas, sponsored by grants from the British Academy, National Science Foundation and Economic and Social Research Council. He is currently leading a large international project on the politics of educated unemployed youth in South Asia, sponsored by a major grant from the Economic and Social Research Council and is working on a book on corruption in modern India based upon four years of fieldwork in Uttar Pradesh, north India (conducted in Hindi and Urdu since 1995). Other interests include ethnographic writing. Craig Jeffrey also writes regularly for major news and literary journals (especially The Guardian, and Times Literary Supplement) and broadcasts on BBC Radio Four. He edits the Global Youth book series at Temple University Press and he is on the editorial board of several journals, including Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Geoforum, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Journal of South Asian Development, Journal of South Asian Studies, and Pacific Affairs. Craig Jeffrey's books and articles have been translated into several languages including Hindi, Turkish, and Japanese. Craig Jeffrey is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

To watch a documentary relating to Craig Jeffrey's current collaborative research with Jane Dyson and others in the Indian Himalayas, see:


In his seventeen year career as a university lecturer and professor, Craig Jeffrey has prioritized training students in India, the UK and US in social science methods, via undergraduate and masters courses, through designing and running doctoral training programmes, and - especially- through the three major interdisciplinary and global projects he has led on social change in north India (funded variously by the NSF and ESRC). This has entailed setting up new Masters courses (such as the South Asia masters programmes at the University of Washington), designing doctoral training courses (in Edinburgh and Oxford), serving as Director of the international Graduate School (Research) at Oxford, training post-doctoral research associates in the US, UK, and India, and also instructing research assistants in rural and provincial India on social science methods. Reflecting this effort, he currently has three post-doctoral research associates and thirteen doctoral students working on youth-related issues, including researchers conducting work in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Egypt, Singapore, China, UK, Russia, and South Africa. Fifteen of his former doctoral students have now completed their studies and many are now employed in prestigious institutions, including the University of Edinburgh (Rowan Ellis), University of Wisconsin-Madison (Stephen Young), and Department for International Development (Anna Lake).

Current Research

Craig is currently leading a project on the politics of educated unemployed youth in South Asia funded by a 1.16 million ESRC grant. Rising schooling and a shortage of salaried jobs has created a crisis of educated unemployment in the global South. But we know very little about what educated unemployed youth are doing. Our research team (Professor Craig Jeffrey and Dr Jane Dyson, Professor David Gellner and Dr Amanda Snellinger, and Professor Jonathan Spencer and Dr Dhana Hughes) are conducting detailed ethnographic research in three areas of South Asia (India, Nepal and Sri Lanka) with a view to understanding educated unemployed young people's political practices. From a scholarly perspective, we hope to use youth as a lens through which to understand the changing nature of work, education, politics and civil society around the world. We are also centrally interested in enhancing public understanding of young people: Marginalized youth are often imagined as "anomic"; but they may also be involved in forms of "positive youth politics" in different parts of South Asia and the world.

  • Alchemists of the Revolution? The politics of educated unemployed youth
    Financial support from the ESRC; 2012-2015.
  • Dowry Marriage in India
    Oxford-Princeton Collaborative Grant (with Professor Isabelle Clark-Deces in Princeton and Dr Jane Dyson in Oxford).
  • Lost in Transition? Comparative Analysis of Educated Unemployed Young Men
    St John's College Research Centre, Oxford University.
  • Fixing Futures: New Politicians and Low-caste Democratization in India
    Financial support from National Science Foundation (Geography panel co-sponsored by Political Science panel), USA; 2009-2011.
  • Educated Underemployment and Intergenerational Politics in India
    Financial support from Royalty Research Fund, University of Washington, USA; 2007-2008.
  • Democracy, Higher Education and Youth Cultures: Student Politics in North India
    Financial support from Economic and Social Research Council Research, UK; 2004-2005.
  • Muslim Girls' Education in India, with Patricia Jeffery and Roger Jeffery
    Financial support from Ford Foundation; 2001-2002.
  • Household Strategies, Schooling Regimes and Social Exclusion in Western UP, India, with Patricia Jeffery and Roger Jeffery
    Financial support from Economic and Social Research Council Research Grant; 2000-2002.
  • Reimagining Corruption in India: Public-Sector Recruitment and Social Inequality
    Financial support from HSBC Holdings Small Research Grant Award administered by Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers; 2000-2001.

Current Postdoctoral Research Associates (and funding source)


Professor Craig Jeffrey currently teaches on seven courses at the School of Geography and the Environment. At the undergraduate level he teaches on the Prelims Human Geography course; Geographical Controversies; Qualitative Research Methods, Space, Place and Society; and a popular Contemporary India final-year undergraduate course. At the graduate level, he teaches on the Nature, Society and Environmental Policy Masters and the School's Doctoral Training Programme. He also initiated a new course titled 'Ethnographic Portraits' (with Jane Dyson and David Mills), which is interdisciplinary in nature and forms part of the ESRC's Doctoral Training Centre. In 2011 Craig Jeffrey won an Oxford Teaching Excellence Award.

Current Graduate Research Students

Ariell Ahearn-Ligham

The changing meaning of work, herding, and social relations in Mongolia: a study of value transformations and conditions for social change

Akanksha Awal

Are Taxi-Wallahs driving Delhi? Migrant politics in the capital

Jonathan Balls

The potential and challenges for the nascent Indian off-grid solar power sector

Yi'En Cheng

Education, class, and youth: young people's experiences of private higher education in Singapore

Hannah Dawson

The shifting terrain of respected adulthood in South Africa. Young men's navigation of economic uncertainty in a context of mass unemployment

Irina Fedorenko

How the Internet and social networks influence the development of Chinese and Russian environmental non-governmental organisations

David Maguire

Learning to serve time: an investigation into how the construction of working class masculinity impacts on the life chances of the young men who invest in it

Gregory Ortiz

New connections: middle class youth activism in Delhi

Viresh Patel

Youth strategies and generational change in rural Gujarat, India

Nicholas Simcik-Arese

Claiming the Satellite City: Conceptions of livelihood and ownership in Cairo’s occupied youth housing estates

Charlotte von Mangoldt

Student environmentalism in China: new generation, new values?

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Ashok Kumar
Completed in 2015

Global collective bargaining and the garment industry

Andrea Kölbel
Completed in 2015

Youth, Aspiration, and Mobility: Young people debating their potential futures in Nepal

Sahar Romani
Completed in 2015

Generation NGO: youth and development in urban India

Tanya Kumar
Completed in 2014

Marginalized street traders or strategic entrepreneurs? Social networks, political structures and Kolkata’s young street vendors

Kamakshi Mubarak
Completed in 2011

Everyday networks, politics and inequalities in post-tsunami recovery: fisher livelihoods in south Sri Lanka

Craig is interested in hearing from scholars who wish to conduct doctoral or post-doctoral work on international development, agrarian change, youth, class politics, and state/society relations, within and beyond south Asia. He has supervised over thirty postgraduate Masters and Doctoral dissertations in the UK and US.

Dr Jeffrey is a Fellow of St John's College, where he is responsible for advising undergraduates on their studies over the course of their three-year degrees. His goals as an educator are situated within the University of Oxford's mission of creating an excellent and accessible educational environment for students from a wide variety of backgrounds. He has for long been involved in initiatives that combine teaching, research, and community engagement. In 2000 he organized a symposium at the University of Edinburgh for seventy Scottish high school geography teachers in which school and university educators exchanged ideas. In 2007 he worked with five undergraduate students at the University of Washington over 12 weeks to develop theatre-based workshops for a federally-sponsored program designed to improve educational opportunities for students from low-income schools. He uses a diverse range of teaching methods, including narrative, role play, video, on-line discussion, and field trips. He has obtained a Professional Certificate in University Teaching in the UK and was twice nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Washington.

Selected Publications

Publications are those that were listed on the old website. Publications database integration forthcoming.
Special Issues of Journals
Articles and Papers
Working Papers
Media Broadcasts
  • 2012 - "Dream of gold leads to government excavation in India", Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent, 11/01/14.
  • 2012 - "India's quick fix solutions", Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent, 20/10/12.
  • 2012 - "Indian viagra", Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent, 7/7/12.
  • 2011 - "India's vibrant anti-corruption activists", Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent, 3/12/11.
  • 2011 - "India haunted by caste", Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent, 9/7/11.
  • 2011 - "Indian democracy:" one man, one bribe", Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent, 11/6/11.
  • 2011 - "Youth in limbo", BBC World Service From Our Own Correspondent, 19/05/11.
Recent Media Publications
  • 2014 - "Underemployed graduates, 'timepass' and the threat of a global demographic crisis", The Conversation, 24th January.
  • 2014 - "Dream of gold leads to government excavation in India", BBC News Magazine, 11th January.
  • 2013 - "India lags behind China", letter in The Guardian, 6th February.
  • 2013 - "We must all counter the mood music of rape culture", letter in The Guardian, 9th January.
  • 2012 - "Jugaad neoliberalism", letter in The Guardian, 9th October.
  • 2012 - "Taking to the Streets to defend democracy", letter in The Guardian, 26th September.
  • 2012 - "Himalayan Hopes", with Dr Jane Dyson, ESRC's Society Now magazine, Autumn 2012.
  • 2012 - "India banks on rush for aphrodisiac fungus before supply droops", The Guardian, 30th July.
  • 2012 - "The Viagra transforming local economies in India", BBC News Magazine, 7th July.
  • 2011 - "India's vibrant anti-corruption activists", BBC News Magazine, 3rd December.
  • 2010 - "Neither booming nor backward", London Review of Books, 27/09/10.
  • 2010 - "Indian democracy: One man, one bribe", London Review of Books, 12/06/10.
  • 2010 - "The politics of waiting", The Guardian, 23/05/2010.
  • 2010 - "Sixty years of change in India", The Guardian, 25/01/10.
  • 2009 - "Young, educated and jobless in India", The Guardian, 29/11/09.