Dr Shalini Grover

Dr Shalini Grover

Assistant Professorial Research Fellow

International Inequalities Institute

English, Hindi, Norwegian
Key Expertise
Care-Domestic Economies, Global Care Chains, Transnationalism, Marriage

About me

I locate myself within the disciplines of anthropology and gender studies. For over two decades my principal areas of research have been marriage, kinship, love, divorce, legal pluralisms and globalized care in urban India and transnationally. My publications have attempted a notable paradigmatic shift thereby introducing the notion of ‘lived experience’ to marital practices. My first piece in Contributions to Indian Sociology (2009) was influential in critiquing cultural relativist arguments around kinship support in ‘arranged’ and ‘love’ marriages. Following this, my 2011 book (‘Marriage, Love, Caste and Kinship Support: Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor, Social Science Press: Delhi) has been republished as a new international and revised edition with Routledge (United Kingdom & New York, 2018). The book’s findings challenge many established stereotypes, for example, the notion that gender relations within scheduled caste marriages are egalitarian in nature; that women’s ties to their mothers and other natal kin in north India are severely attenuated upon marriage; and that parentally arranged marriages are more ‘stable’ than those based on love marriages.  My recent publications (2016 onwards) offer an analysis on emerging (and historical) divorce statistics and middle-class women as ‘new legal subjects.’ I argue that in the present middle-class milieu, what is conspicuous is the changing (gendered) nature of legal behaviour and not a perceived dramatic rise in formal divorce.

A significant part of my research also focuses on globalized care through a historical-anthropological lens. The mobility and the lives of female ayahs (maids/child-minders) across time-zones is an area of research I am pursuing (click here for more info). My forthcoming historical-anthropological manuscript (work-in-progress) addresses shifts in paid domestic labour from the colonial era to contemporary times. ‘Domestic Service and Caregiving in 20th and 21st Century India: Race, Transnationalism and Global Elites’ will examine atypical global care chains emanating from India and the inequalities that global elites reproduce in transnational settings. I am co-editor for a Special Journal Issue on Care-Domestic Labour (JSAD, 2018), have contributed to the historical volume, ‘Servants Past’ (Orient Blackswan), written on cultural integration and reverse migration in: ‘Who is an Expatriate in India’ (2018) and addressed transnational controversies (2017) on domestic labour and privileged migration in, ‘the value of domestic labour in the global south.’

I have recently been the recipient of two grants as Principal Investigator (PI) at LSE. The first is a British Academy (BA)/Leverhulme Small Research Grant on, 'Male Domestic-Care Labour in Globalizing India' that was completed with my Co-Investigator Thomas Chambers (Senior Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University) in 2022. The project attends to how men negotiate constructed notions of masculinity when engaging in forms of employment associated with feminized, stigmatized and low-status work. The second or current grant (2022-2023) is an award from the LSE RISF Fund on, 'Forgotten Histories of Racialized Colonial Networks of Domestic Workers in South India: Impacts on Contemporary Labour Markets'. The project combines anthropology, history and law to examine disadvantaged colonial networks at the cusp of India's independence (1947) and its aftermath. It aims to trace impacts such as postcolonial inequalities in contemporary care economies and domestic service in India, South Asia and transnationally. The project will re-construct the histories of the colonial networks who were caught in monumental political transitions when the Empire fell, and when British and Anglo-Indian employers migrated to post-World War 11 Britain.

Before coming to the LSE, I was Associate Professor in Anthropology at the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG, University of Delhi). After my PhD in the UK (Department of Anthropology, Sussex University), I spent a decade in India and have taught at various universities. At LSE, I supervise Masters Students and AFSEE Fellows, as well as facilitate Doctoral and Masters Seminars, and give selective lectures towards III Masters and AFSEE Programmes. Along with my colleagues at LSE, I have also formed the Racial Justice Working Group that works around equity and racial justice (click here for more info). Prior to LSE, I taught an undergraduate course at SOAS, and I have also taught at two Indian universities (i.e. O.P. Jindal University and Ambedkar University). I have mentored several Masters and PhD Students from the UK, Scandinavia, France and USA, during their fieldwork sojourns in India.

Alongside I have a background in international development and policy, having conducted research for UNIFEM, UNED-UK and IDS (University of Sussex). Apart from my academic and policy work, I have engaged in numerous public debates on the institution of marriage and the inequalities of domestic labour through a range of book reviews, newspaper articles, blogs, and opinion pieces. My personal web page, research and writings are available on www.drshalinigrover.com 

Link to my CV

Expertise Details

Care-Domestic Economies; Global Care Chains; Transnationalism; Marriage

Publications and Press

Books (Single Authored Monograph) 


2018. Grover, Shalini. Revised international edition of the below published by Routledge. Taylor and Francis, United Kingdom and New York https://www.routledge.com/Marriage-Love-Caste-and-Kinship-Support-Lived-Experiences-of-the-Urban/Grover/p/book/9781138019331  

Additional preface and epilogue; the latter marks change and continuity from 2000-16. It interlaces recent reflections in the context of India's celebrated economic growth story  


2011. Grover, Shalini. Marriage, Love, Caste and Kinship Support: Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor in India. New Delhi: Social Science Press.  


Second Monograph (Single Authored Work in Progress/forthcoming, under contract with Cambridge University Press) 


Shalini Grover. Domestic Service and Caregiving in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Race, Coloniality and Global Elites in India


Edited Volumes (Co-Edited Work in Progress) 


Shalini Grover and Kaveri Qureshi. Post-Divorce Intimacy in Contemporary Asia. For the Book Series on, “The Politics of Marriage and Gender: Global Issues in Local Contexts.” Rutgers University Press.  


Shalini Grover, Patricia Jeffery and Thomas Chambers. Portraits of Women’s Paid Domestic-Care Labour: Ethnographic Studies from Globalizing India. New Delhi: Zubaan. (Converting a Special Issue into an Edited Volume with New Contributors) 



Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters: 


2023. Grover, Shalini. Family-Arranged Marriages in Globalizing India: Shifting Scripts of Desire, Infidelity and Emotional Compatibility. In, Berta, Peter (Editor) Arranged Marriage: The Politics of Tradition, Resistance and Change. New York and London: Rutgers University Press. 

Forthcoming 2023. Grover, Shalini. ‘Love Unturned’: Female Solidarity and Friendships among Lower Caste Middle-Aged Women in India. In, Chaudhry Shruti, Gorringe Hugo and Govinda Radhika (Editors) Gender in South Asia and Beyond: A Festschrift in Honour of Patricia Jeffery. Delhi: Zubaan and University of Chicago Press.

2022. Chakraborty, S. S., & Grover, S.Care-work for colonial and contemporary white families in India: A historical-anthropology of the racialized romanticization of the ayah. Cultural Dynamics, 0(0). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09213740221144045

2022. Grover, Shalini. Placement Agencies for Care-Domestic Labour: Everyday Mediation, Civilizing Missions, Regimes of Punishment and Training in Globalized India. Modern Asian Studies: Cambridge University Press.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X21000585

2019. Grover, Shalini. Streamlining Paid Domestic Labour in Postcolonial India: The New Female All-Rounder in Master-Servant Expatriate Relationships. In, Nitin Sinha and Nitin Varma (Editors) Servants Past, Late-Eighteenth to Twentieth Century South Asia Volume 11. Delhi: Orient Blackswan.



2019. Grover, Shalini. Conjugality and Marital Dissolution in Historical Perspective.  In, Sanjay Srivastava, Yasmeen Arif, and Janaki Abraham (Editors) Critical Themes in Indian Sociology. Delhi: Sage.



2018. Grover, Shalini. English-speaking and Educated Female Domestic Workers in Contemporary India: New Managerial Roles, Social Mobility and Persistent Inequality. Journal of South Asian Development (JSAD). 13 (2): 186-209. 




2018. Shalini Grover, Thomas Chambers, Patricia, Jeffery and (Editors). Introduction to the Special Issue: Portraits of Women’s Paid Domestic-Care Labour: Ethnographic Studies from Globalizing India. Journal of South Asian Development (JSAD). 13 (2): 1-18. 




2018. Grover, Shalini. Who is an Expatriate? Euro-American Identities, Race and Integration in Postcolonial India. In, Sanna Schliewe, Nandita Chaudhary and Giuseppina (Editors) Cultural Psychology of Intervention in the Globalized World. Information Age Publishing: USA, Charlotte: NC.  


2017. Grover, Shalini. Jural Relations of Middle-Class Marriage and Women as Legal Subjects in the Imaginary of “New India.” The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA). 28 (3): 249-393.  



2017. Grover, Shalini. Revisiting the Devyani Khobragade Controversy: The Value of Domestic Labour in the Global South. In ‘Voices’ from Asian Feminist Activism, Asian Journal of Women’s Studies (AJWS)23 (1): 121-128.    


(Taylor and Francis) 


2014. Grover, Shalini. Purani aur nai shaadi: Separation, Divorce and Remarriage Amongst Delhi’s Urban Poor (reprint). In,Ravinder Kaur and Rajni Palriwala (Editors) Marrying in South Asia: Shifting Concepts, Changing Practices in a Globalizing World. Delhi: Orient Blackswan. 


2011. Grover, Shalini. Purani aur Nai Shaadi: Separation, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Lives of the Urban Poor in New Delhi. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies (AJWS)17 (1): 67-99. 


(Taylor and Francis) 


2009. Grover, Shalini. Lived Experiences: Marriage, Notions of Love, and Kinship Support Amongst Poor Women in Delhi. Contributions to Indian Sociology (CIS). 43 (1): 1–33. 




My Other Writings: 


2020: Can Covid 19 Be A Game-Changer? Those Who Serve On The Frontline and Servant Loyalty During the Indian Mutiny of 1857. In Solidarity and Care: During the Covid – 19 Pandemic. Sociological Review. 



2018 (Episode 5): ‘Capturing an anthropologist’s perspective, Shalini Grover, on the urban poor in India.’ Podcost on India and Development in www.inthefield.org 


August 21st, 2017: Comprehensive write-up () of my new revised edition, Routledge United Kingdom Version, London School of Economics, South Asia Blog. 



2016 (23rd August): Grover, Shalini.. Remembering ‘Badi Nani:’ A Pointer to Bygone Times at Delhi’s Connaught Place of the 1970s. The Hindu – Opinion - Open Page.  



2015 (14th September). Kabita Chakraborty and Shalini Grover. Illness and Hardship as Rites of Passage (a critique of neo-colonial fieldwork and privileged expatriate sojourns). SiliconAfrica.Com 



2015 (May 31st). Grover, Shalini, Ellina Samantroy, and Nupur Dhingra Paiva. “New India’s” Inflexible Workforce – Caring is but Women’s Work. Kafila.  



2012 (7th June). Grover, Shalini.. Do we over Idealise the Concepts of Family and Motherhood? Tehelka, Opinion. 



Published Report On Policy:  

Grover Shalini, Minu Hemmati, Clare Flenly. 1999. Gender and Sustainable Consumption: Bridging the Policy Gaps in the Context of Chapter 4, Agenda 21, “Changing Consumption and Production Patterns.” Report to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development 7th Session, April 1999. London: United Nations Environment and Development Committee(UNED-UK). 


Book Reviews:

2015. Kenneth Bo Nielsen and Anne Waldrop. Women, Gender, and Everyday Social Transformation in India (review), 2014, London and New York: Anthem Press. Gender and Development. Volume 23: 2. July. 


2015. Pallavi Aiyar. Punjabi Parmesan. (review, “Changing Equations”), 2013, New Delhi: Penguin. The Book Review. Volume xxxix (4) April: p20. 


2014. Raka Ray and Seemin Qayum. Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity, and Class in India (review), 2009, New Delhi: Oxford University New Delhi. Contributions to Indian Sociology. 48 (2): 284-286 



2012. Livia, Holdven. Hindu Divorce: A Legal Anthropology (review), 2008, England: Ashgate, Asian Journal of Women’s Studies. 18 (2): 124-127. 



2007. Prem Chowdhry. Contentious Marriages, Eloping Couples: Gender, Caste, and Patriarchy in Northern India (review, “The Right to Choose If, Who and When to Marry”). Delhi: Oxford University Press, Economic and Political Weekly. XL11 (24): 2269–71. 



(Full review reproduced on-line in Europe Solidaire Sans Frontieres)