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    Prof. Rai directed a Leverhulme Trust funded programme on Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament (2007-2011) which explored themes of political rituals, symbols and architecture in politics. Her research interests are in performance and politics, political institutions and the political economy of development. She is the author of The Gender Politics of Development (2008, Zed Books/Zubaan Publishers) and editor of Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament (2010) with Rachel E Johnson, Democracy in Practice: Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament (Palgrave, 2015) and with Janelle Reinelt, The Grammar of Politics and Performance (Rouledge, 2015). She is the author of Gender and Political Economy of Development (2002, Polity Press). Her articles have appeared in journals including: International Feminist Journal of Politics, International Studies Review, New Political Economy, Hypatia and Signs. She has consulted with the United Nations’ Division for the Advancement of Women and UNDP. She is a member of the Editorial Boards of International Feminist Journal of Politics, Politics and Gender, Global Ethics and Indian Journal of Gender Studies and Political Studies Quarterly.

    Prof Rai's three main research strands

    • Gender and Political Economy: This work reflects an interest in the political economy of development from a gendered perspective. The specific areas of concern centre around the gendered regimes of work and survival under globalisation, which include privatisation of natural resources, and the changing nature of work.
    • Performance and Politics: Building on her work on ceremony and ritual in parliament Prof. Rai is interested in exploring the nature of the performative in politics - how the two are co-constitutive, how the affect of one resonates with the other, how traditions are invented and stabilised to legitimise certain political performances and de-legitimise others and how discursive scripts are produced to articulate political debates, conflicts and manners.

    • Governance in an era of globalisation: Her particular concern has been the ways in which shifting patterns of economic and political governance are changing gender relations and in what ways are gender relations constitutive of the shifts in governance.