Ayesha Pattnaik is a DPhil candidate at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. Her doctoral research, under the supervision of Professor Fernanda Pirie, analyses experiences of internal migration among informal workers in India. Using qualitative methods, she explores how movement within national borders reframes migrants’ expectations of and access to law and citizenship.

Previously, Ayesha worked in the research wing of the Indian NGO PRADAN. She conducted academic and policy-oriented research for various projects on themes including migration, sustainable food systems, women’s collective action, and rural development in India. Prior to that, as a research associate with Kyoto University and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on the interdisciplinary project TAPESTRY, she conducted ethnographic fieldwork and archival research studying transformation among communities in India’s marginal environments with high climate change uncertainty.

Before working in the development sector, Ayesha read an MSc. in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in Political Science from Ashoka University. As a student of Sociology, she is interested in interdisciplinary approaches and situating the agency of citizens in redefining and claiming rights.

She is currently an editor at Frontiers of Socio-Legal Studies. She also frequently writes for academic journals, blogs, and news platforms. A list of her publications is available here


Research Interests

citizenship, migration, labour

Research projects & programmes

Centre for Socio-Legal Studies