Professor David Lewis

Professor David Lewis

Professor of Anthropology and Development

Department of International Development

+44 (0)20 7955 6037
Key Expertise
Agrarian Change, NGOs, Civil Society, South Asia

About me

David Lewis is Professor of Anthropology and Development in the Department of International Development. David's research interests lie at the interface between development studies and anthropology, and most of his work has been concerned with understanding people's encounters with development actors and development processes. He undertakes regular fieldwork in Bangladesh on governance, policy and civil society and also worked in Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Palestine and Uganda. He is currently the Principal Investigator on a research project on the ethnography of small business advice giving in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and is completing a collaborative project on conflict and deprivation in Palestine. He has a growing interest in representations of development in popular culture, including music, fiction and film, and is a Faculty Advisory Group member in the LSE South Asia Centre.

David's work has been published in a range of journals including World Development, Development and Change, and Current Anthropology. He is author of several books including Bangladesh: Politics, Economy and Civil Society (2011), Non-Governmental Organizations, Management and Development (2014), and Anthropology and Development: Challenges for the 21st Century (with Katy Gardner, 2015). He is co-editor of Development Brokers and Translators: The Ethnography of Aid and Agencies (2006, with David Mosse) and Popular Representations of Development: Insights From Novels, Films, Television and Social Media, (with Dennis Rodgers and Michael Woolcock. He is currently working on a co-edited book called New Mediums, Better Messages? How Innovations in Translation, Engagement, and Advocacy are Changing International Development, to be published by Oxford University Press.

He has advised a range of development agencies including UNDP, IFAD, Oxfam, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

You can see a full list of Professor David Lewis's publications here


Selected publications

  • M. Feisal Rahman, David Lewis, Laura Kuhl, Andrew Baldwin, Hanna Ruszczyk, Md. Nadiruzzaman & Yousuf Mahid (2023) ‘Managed urban retreat: the trouble with crisis narratives’, Urban Geography, DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2023.2228094

  • Lewis, D., D. Rodgers and M. Woolcock (eds.) (2022) New Mediums, Better Messages? How Innovations in Translation, Engagement, and Advocacy are Changing International Development, Oxford: OUP.

  • Lewis, D. et al. (2022) ‘University-based researchers as knowledge brokers for climate policies and action’. The European Journal of Development Research.

  • Lewis, D., S. Biggs, and S. Justice (2022) ‘Rural mechanization for equitable development: disarray, disjuncture and disruption. Development Policy Review. doi: 10.1111/DPR.12612

  • Lewis, D., N. Kanji and N. Themudo (2021) Non-Governmental Organisations and Development. London: Routledge.

  • Lewis, D., D. Rodgers and M. Woolcock (2021) ‘The sounds of development: Musical representations as (an)other source of development knowledge’, Journal of Development Studies, 57:8, 1397-1412, DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2020.1862800

  • Lewis, D. and W. van Schendel (2020) ‘Rethinking the Bangladesh State’. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 54, 2: 306–323.

  • Lewis, D. (2019) ‘Humanitarianism, civil society and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh’, Third World Quarterly, 40:10, 1884-1902.

  • Lewis, D. and A. Hossain (2019) ‘Local political consolidation in Bangladesh: power, informality and patronage’, Development & Change, DOI: 10.1111/dech.12534

Expertise Details

development ethnography; development policy; agrarian change; civil society and NGOs; South Asia; development and the humanities