Lewis, David

Professor David Lewis  


Position held

Department of Social Policy

Professor of Social Policy and Development and Head of Department

Experience keywords:

international development; NGOs; development organizations

Research summary > [Click to expand]

Overall my research is concerned with international development policy. I have a particular interest in the roles of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society in development; and in anthropological approaches to the study of development organizations: my main geographical focus is on South Asia; mainly Bangladesh but also India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I have also worked in the Philippines. I have undertaken consultancy for a range of development organizations including Oxfam, Save the Children, UK Department for International Development (DFID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and The Body Shop.

Sectors and industries to which research relates:

EnvironmentPolicy and Regulatory BodiesPublic Administration

Countries and regions to which research relates:

Bangladesh; Philippines; South Asia


Bengali [Spoken: Basic]; French [Written: Basic]

Media experience:


Contact Points

LSE phone number:

020 7955 6037


LSE Research Online, Funnelback Search


Schuller, Mark and Lewis, David (2014) Anthropology of NGOs In: Jackson, John, (ed.) Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Lewis, David (2014) Non-governmental organizations, management and development 3rd edition, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN 9780415816502

Lewis, David (2014) Commodifying development experience: deconstructing development as gift in the development blockbuster Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology . 1-14. ISSN 0066-4677

Lewis, David and Rogers, Dennis and Woolcock, Michael, eds (2014) Popular representations of development: insights from novels, films, television and social media Rethinking Development. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN 9780415822817

Lewis, David (2014) Contesting parallel worlds: time to abandon the distinction between the ‘international’ and ‘domestic’ contexts of third sector scholarship VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. ISSN 0957-8765


Lewis, David (2013) Building the welfare mix or sidelining the state? Non-governmental organizations in developing countries as social policy actors In: Surender, Rebecca and Walker, Robert, (eds.) Social Policy in a Developing World. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 58-80. ISBN 9781849809900

Lewis, David and Rodgers, Dennis and Woolcock, Michael (2013) The projection of development: cinematic representation as a(nother) source of authoritative knowledge? Journal of Development Studies, 49 (3). 383-397. ISSN 0022-0388


Austin, Michael J. and Dal Santo, Teresa and Lewis, David (2012) Boundary-crossing careers of senior human service administrators: a cross-case analysis Administration in Social Work, 36 (2). 109-132. ISSN 0364-3107

Lewis, David (2012) Bangladesh: politics, economy and civil society Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. ISBN 9780521713771


Lewis, David (2011) Tidy concepts, messy lives: defining tensions in the domestic and overseas careers of UK non-governmental professionals In: Mosse, David, (ed.) Adventures in Aidland: the Anthropology of Professionals in International Development. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9780857451101

Lewis, David (2011) There is no crisis of civic participation: The Big Society risks undermining the integrity of both state and civil society British Politics and Policy at LSE (26 Jan 2011) Blog entry

Lewis, David (2011) The voluntary sector is at the centre of the government’s Big Society plans: this may offer the possibility of better services, but not necessarily cheaper ones British Politics and Policy at LSE (21 Jun 2011) Blog entry

Biggs, Stephen and Justice, Scott and Lewis, David (2011) Patterns of rural mechanisation, energy and employment in South Asia: reopening the debate Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI (9). 78-82. ISSN 0012-9976

Lewis, David (2011) Exchanges of professionals between the public and non-governmental sectors: life-work histories from Bangladesh Modern Asian Studies, 45 (3). 735-757. ISSN 0026-749X


Lewis, David (2010) Encountering hybridity: lessons from individual experiences In: Billis, David, (ed.) Hybrid Organizations and the Third Sector: Challenges for Practice, Theory and Policy. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. ISBN 9780230234635

Lewis, David (2010) Disciplined activists, unruly brokers?: exploring the boundaries between non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donors, and the state in Bangladesh In: Gellner, David, (ed.) Varieties of Activist Experience: Civil Society in South Asia. Governance, conflict and civic action. Sage Publications, London. ISBN 9788132104506

Lewis, David (2010) Political ideologies and non-governmental organizations: an anthropological perspective Journal of Political Ideologies, 15 (3). 333-345. ISSN 1356-9317

Lewis, David (2010) The strength of weak ideas?: human security, policy history and climate change in Bangladesh In: Security and Development. Critical interventions: a forum for social analysis, 11 (11). Berghahn Books, Oxford, England, 113-129. ISBN 9780857451774


Lewis, David and Kanji, Nazneen (2009) Non-governmental organisations and development Routledge perspectives on development. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415454308

Biggs, Stephen and Lewis, David (2009) Fair trade and organizational innovation in Nepal: lessons from 25 Years of growth of the Association of Craft Producers (ACP) European Journal of Development Research, 21 (3). 377-396. ISSN 0957-8811

Lewis, David (2009) International development and the ‘perpetual present’: anthropological approaches to the re-historicization of policy European Journal of Development Research, 21 (1). 32-46. ISSN 0957-8811


Lewis, David and Hossain, Abul (2008) Understanding the local power structure in rural Bangladesh SIDA studies (22). SIDA, Stockholm, Sweden. ISBN 9789158681156

Lewis, David (2008) Using life histories in social policy research: the case of third sector/public sector boundary crossing Journal of Social Policy, 37 (4). 559-578. ISSN 0047-2794

Lewis, David and Rodgers, Dennis and Woolcock, Michael (2008) The fiction of development: literary representation as a source of authoritative knowledge Journal of Development Studies, 44 (2). 198-216. ISSN 0022-0388

Lewis, David (2008) Crossing the boundaries between 'third sector' and state: life-work histories from the Philippines, Bangladesh and the UK Third World Quarterly, 29 (1). 125-141. ISSN 0143-6597


Bebbington, Anthony and Lewis, David and Batterbury, Simon and Olson, E and Shameem Siddiqi, M (2007) Beyond the development text: the World Bank and empowerment in practice Journal of Development Studies, 43 (4). 597-621. ISSN 0022-0388

Hallman, Kelly and Lewis, David and Begum, Suraiya (2007) Assessing the impact of vegetable and fishpond technologies on poverty in rural Bangladesh In: Adato, Michelle and Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, (eds.) Agricultural Research, Livelihoods, and Poverty: Studies of Economic and Social Impacts in Six Countries. An international food policy research institute book. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA, 103-148. ISBN 9780801887215

Hossain, Mahabub and Lewis, David and Bose, Manik L. and Chowdhury, Alamgir (2007) Rice research, technological progress, and impacts on the poor: the Bangladesh case In: Adato, Michelle and Meinzen-Dick, Ruth, (eds.) Agricultural Research, Livelihoods, and Poverty: Studies of Economic and Social Impacts in Six Countries. An International Food Policy Research Institute book. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA, 56-102. ISBN 9780801887215


Lewis, David (2006) Non-governmental organisations In: Tate, N., (ed.) Governments of the World. Macmillan Reference, 205-209. ISBN 9780028658117

Lewis, David and Mosse, D. (2006) Development brokers and translators: the ethnography of aid agencies Kumarian Books, Bloomfield, CT. ISBN 156549217X

Lewis, David (2006) Globalization and international service: a development perspective Voluntary Action, 7 (2). 13-26. ISSN 1465-4067

Lewis, David (2006) Issues and priorities in non-governmental organisation research Journal of Health Management, 8 (2). 181-193. ISSN 0972-0634

Lewis, David (2006) The management of non-governmental development organisations Routledge studies in the management of voluntary and non-profit organizations. 2nd, Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415370936

Lewis, David and Mosse, D (2006) Encountering order and disjuncture: Contemporary anthropological perspectives on the organisation of development Oxford Development Studies, 34 (1). 1-13. ISSN 1360-0818

Lewis, David (2006) Anthropology and development: knowledge, history, power and practice

Lewis, David and Opoku-Mensah, Paul (2006) Moving forward research agendas on international NGOs: Theory, agency and context Journal of International Development, 18 (5). 665-675. ISSN 0954-1748

Lewis, David and Siddiqi, M. Shameen (2006) Social capital from sericulture? : actors, markets, and power in a multi-agency project in Bangladesh In: Bebbington, Anthony J. and Woolcock, Michael and Guggenheim, Scott E. and Olson, Elizabeth, (eds.) The Search for Empowerment: Social Capital as Idea and Practice at the World Bank. Kumarian Press, Bloomfield, CT., USA, 239-257. ISBN 1565492153


Mosse, David and Lewis, David (2005) The aid effect: giving and governing in international development Pluto Press, London, UK. ISBN 9780745323862

Gardner, Katy and Lewis, David (2005) Beyond development? In: Edelman, Marc and Haugerud, Angelique, (eds.) The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford, 352-360. ISBN 9780631228806

Lewis, David (2005) Policy tensions in public space: shifting boundaries between non-governmental organisations (NGOs), donors and state in Bangladesh

Lewis, David (2005) Individuals, organisations and public action : trajectories of the non-governmental in development studies In: Kothari, Uma, (ed.) A Radical History of Development Studies. Zed Books Ltd, London, 200-222. ISBN 1842770000

Lewis, David (2005) Anthropology and development : the uneasy relationship In: Carrier, James G., (ed.) A Handbook of Economic Anthropology. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 472-486. ISBN 1843761750

Lewis, David and Rodgers, Dennis and Woolcock, Michael (2005) The fiction of development: knowledge, authority and representation Working Paper 05-61. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

Lewis, David (2005) Entries on ‘civil society’, ‘non-governmental organisations’ and ‘Grameen Bank’ In: Forsyth, Tim, (ed.) Encyclopaedia of International Development. Routledge. ISBN 9780415253420


Glasius, Marlies and Lewis, David and Seckinelgin, Hakan, eds (2004) Exploring civil society : political and cultural contexts Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 0415325463 hb

Lewis, David (2004) Non-Governmental Organisations In: Thomas, Clive S, (ed.) Research Guide to Us and International Interest Groups. Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT, 263-264. ISBN 0313295433

Lewis, David (2004) "Old" and "new" civil societies in Bangladesh In: Glasius, Marlies and Lewis, David and Seckinelgin, Hakan, (eds.) Exploring Civil Society: Political and Cultural Contexts. Routledge, London, 113-120. ISBN 0415325455

Lewis, David (2004) Icebergs, hippos and organizational change in Africa, a reply to Rick James Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 15 (2). 259-263. ISSN 1048-6682

Lewis, David (2004) On the difficulty of studying “civil society”: NGOs, state and democracy in Bangladesh Contributions to Indian Sociology, 38 (3). 299-322. ISSN 0069-9667

Lewis, David and Madon, Shirin (2004) Information systems and non-governmental development organisations: advocacy, organisational learning and accountability The Information Society, 20 (2). 117-126. ISSN 0197-2243


Lewis, David (2003) Civil society In: Christensen, Karen and Levinson, David, (eds.) Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA. ISBN 0761925988

Lewis, David (2003) Theorising the organisation and management of non-governmental development organisations: towards a composite approach Public Management Review, 5 (3). 325-344. ISSN 1471-9037

Lewis, David (2003) NGOs, organizational culture, and institutional sustainability Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 590 (1). 212-226. ISSN 0002-7162

Lewis, David and Bebbington, Anthony J. and Batterbury, Simon and Shah, Alpa and Olson, Elizabeth and Siddiqi, M. Shameem and Duvall, Sandra (2003) Practice, power and meaning: frameworks for studying organizational culture in multi-agency rural development projects Journal of International Development, 15 (5). 541-557. ISSN 0954-1748

Lewis, David (2002) NGOs, performance and accountability: an overview In: Desai, Vandana and Potter, Robert B., (eds.) The Arnold Companion to Development Studies. Arnold Publishers, London, UK, 519-522. ISBN 0340760516

Lewis, David (2002) Civil society in African contexts: reflections on the usefulness of a concept Development and Change, 33 (4). 569-586. ISSN 0012-155X


Lewis, David (2001) The management of non-governmental development organisations: an introduction Routledge studies in the management of voluntary and non-profit organizations. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780415207584

Lewis, David (2001) Civil society in non-Western contexts: reflections on the ‘usefulness’ of a concept Civil Society Working Paper series, 13. Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 0753013789


Lewis, David and Wallace, Tina, eds (2000) New roles and relevance: development NGOs and the challenge of change Kumarian Press, West Hartford, CT. ISBN 978-1565491212

Lewis, David (2000) Building 'active' partnerships in aid-recipient countries: lessons from a rural development project in Bangladesh In: Osborne, Stephen P., (ed.) Public Private Partnerships: Theory and Practice in International Perspective. Routledge advances in management and business studies. Routledge, New York, 252-264. ISBN 9780415212687

Gardner, Katy and Lewis, David (2000) Dominant paradigms overturned or 'business as usual'? Development discourse and the White Paper on international development Critique of Anthropology, 20 (1). 15-29. ISSN 0308-275X

Gardner, Katy and Lewis, David (2000) Dominant paradigms overturned or 'business as usual'?: development discourse and the white paper on international development Critique of Anthropology, 20 (1). 15-29. ISSN 0308-275X


Lewis, David (1999) Development NGOs and the challenge of partnership In: Finer, Catherine J, (ed.) Transnational Social Policy. Broadening perspectives in social policy. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 49-60. ISBN 9780631211280

Lewis, David (1999) International perspectives on voluntary action: reshaping the third sector Earthscan Ltd, London, UK. ISBN 9781853835568


Lewis, David (1998) Bridging the gap?: the parallel universes of the non-profit and non-governmental organisation research traditions and the changing context of voluntary action International Working Paper Series, 1. Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Personal website

David Lewis’s latest book explains how Bangladesh is becoming of increasing interest to the international community as a portal into some of the key issues of our age.

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