Professor Katy Gardner

Professor Katy Gardner


Department of Anthropology

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Key Expertise

About me

Katy trained at Cambridge and the LSE. After working at Sussex from 1993 – 2013, Katy joined the  Anthropology department at LSE in 2013.

Her work focusses on issues of globalisation, migration and economic change in Bangladesh and its transnational communities in the U.K. Her doctoral research, carried out in the 1980s, examined the transformations associated with overseas migration in a village in Sylhet, and resulted in her monograph Global Migrants, Local Lives: Travel and Transformation in Rural Bangladesh (OUP 1995).

Katy is also interested in the relationship between anthropology and development. Her book Anthropology, Development and the Post-modern Challenge (Pluto Press, 1996; with David Lewis) reflects both the theoretical and practical issues arising from this relationship. The second edition of this book, Anthropology and Development: Twenty First Century Challenges was published by Pluto Press in 2015.

Combined with her long term research in Bangladesh, Katy has conducted fieldwork amongst Bangladeshi communities in the U.K. Her monograph Age, Narrative and Migration: The Life Course and Life Histories amongst Bengali Elders in London (Berg, 2002) analyses the elders' narratives of migration, ageing and illness in the UK, and suggests that transnational migration can be usefully understood as a gendered and embodied experience.  She has also led a research project on transnational Bangladeshi children in London. This involved arts based methods as well as more conventional fieldwork, and culminated in an exhibition of children's art, held at the Museum of Childhood in Spring, 2009.

After this project, Katy researched the role of multinationals and competing narratives of ‘development’ and ‘un-development’ in her original fieldwork site in Sylhet, where Chevron are operating a large gas plant. This work focuses in particular upon corporate programmes of community engagement, land loss and discordant ideologies of philanthropy and development. This research led to articles in the Journal of Peasant Studies, Modern Asian Studies and Economy and Society, as well a book, Discordant Development: global capitalism and the struggle for connection in Bangladesh.

 Her interest in land, dispossession and ‘development’ also resulted in a special volume of the journal SAMAJ on Land, Development and Security in South Asia, which she co-edited with Eva Gerharz.

Katy is currently working on new research on couples’ counselling, marriage mediation, divorce and precarity in Bangladesh. She has recently published articles on precarity, abandonment and marriage in Dhaka ( and on ‘emotional fixes’ in marriage counselling (

Over the next year she will be developing new work on intimate extractions and demand dowry and marriage and carcerality in South Asia.

Katy is seeking new PhD student with interests in anthropology and development, Bangladesh / South Asia, marriage, divorce and relationship counselling, extraction and precarity and transnational migration.

Expertise Details

Bangladesh; globalisation; transnational migration and diaspora; anthropology and development; resource extraction and corporate social responsibility; divorce and couples counselling in South Asia and beyond.

Selected publications

Edited Special Issues of Journals

2016 Land, Development and Security in South Asia Special edition of South Asia Multi-Disciplinary Academic Journal(Issue 13); co-edited with Eva Gerharz

2012 Transnational Migration and the Study of Children co-edited with Kanwal Mand; Special edition of The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies  (single authored Introduction plus article) Volume 38, Issue 6


Recent Journal Articles

2022 Cool Yourself and Be Strong: Emotional Fixes in the Work of Bangladeshi Marriage Advisers. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 45(2), pp.290-303.

2022 Lost and Abandoned: Spatial Precarity and Displacement in Dhaka, Bangladesh Ethnos

2018 "We demand work! ‘Dispossession’, patronage and village labour in Bibiyana, Bangladesh." The Journal of Peasant Studies (2018): 1-17.

2018 Our Own Poor’: Transnational charity, development gifts, and the politics of suffering in Sylhet and the UK. Modern Asian Studies, 52(1), 163-185.

2016 ‘Land, development and security in Bangladesh and India: An Introduction’ co-authored with Eva Gerharz, in SAMAJ Issue 13

2016 ‘Dispossession by development: corporations, elites and NGOs in Bangladesh.’ In SAMAJ Issue 13 :

2016 ‘The path to happiness? Prosperity, suffering, and transnational migration in Britain and Sylhet’.HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory . ISSN 2049-1115

2015 ‘Chevron’s gift of CSR: moral economies of connection and disconnection in a transnational Bangladeshi village.Economy and Society, 44 (4). pp. 495-518

2014 ‘Field of Dreams: Imagining Development and Un-Development at a Gas Field in Sylhet’ for SAMAJ (South Asian Multi-Disciplinary Journal)  with Zahir Ahmed, Fatema Bashar and Masud Rana 

My research