The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) or more informally, the Centre, is one of India’s leading institutes for research in the social sciences and humanities. Since its inception in 1963, the Centre has been known for its critical outlook on received models of development and progress; it is animated by a vision of equality and democratic transformation. The Centre’s scholarship has challenged tendencies in academic and policy regimes to seek and prescribe standardized pathways to social and political change. The Centre has done this by attending to the patterns of difference, diversity, and creativity that emerge from the ways people survive in and reinvent the contemporary world and generate alternative practices and imaginations. In contrast to the development economics profile of most social science research institutions, the Centre is singular in its multi-disciplinary approach. Scholars of political studies and political philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, history, and legal and media studies  have populated the Centre over the years, giving it a live interdisciplinary context.            

In keeping with the spirit of its interdisciplinary engagement, the faculty at the Centre does not duplicate the structure of university departments; instead it encourages thematic research grounded in a variety of methods and sources . While faculty members have the fullest possible freedom to pursue individual research interests, they also work together and collaborate with scholars outside the Centre. The faculty initiates such collaborations through projects and programmes. These generate a much larger CSDS network of scholars, intellectuals, and institutions and enable the Centre to sustain a wide range of research activities. Over the years, the Centre has also been distinctive in generating and utilizing a productive tension between rigorous scholarly work and social movements, between academic commitment and political practices, and in the shaping of public policy.       

Although the Centre is widely respected for its independence from governments and multiple social pressures, it treasures its continuing presence in the public domain. In addition to academic writing, faculty members write newspaper columns and blogs, participate in television and radio debates, and appear in public forums around the country.      

CSDS is largely funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

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