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 with a focus on workers’ own experiences of migration. Using qualitative methods, she explores how movement within national borders reframes migrants’ expectations of and access to citizenship.

Previously, Ayesha worked in the research wing of the Indian NGO PRADAN as a research associate. 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 studied 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. Her aim at the CSLS is to learn about and contribute to empirical legal scholarship.

Her research has been published in Social & Legal Studies and The European Journal of Development Research. She has also written for academic blogs and news platforms. A list of her publications is available hereShe is currently also an editor at Frontiers of Socio-Legal Studies.


Research Interests

citizenship, migration, labour, informality

Research projects & programmes

Centre for Socio-Legal Studies