Affiliated Research Fellows

Meet our Affiliated Research Fellows


A, Rong (Dr)

Rong received her PhD degree in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2020. Her research interests focus on civil society, political engagement, environmental governance, and Chinese society. In her PhD dissertation  (Title: Managing the Dream of a Green China: Chinese ENGOs’ Daily Practices and Controversies), Rong explored how Chinese environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) intervene with environmental crises in an authoritarian context. Drawing on the data from ten-month ethnographic fieldwork in China, she showed that the emergence and development of Chinese ENGOs in the past three decades have been embedded in multiple overlapping historical processes in China. Using a field theory approach, she discussed how different actors compete to gain more capitals and collectively create the field rules, which helps explain Chinese ENGOs’ behavioural patterns. She argued that the field of Chinese ENGOs is witnessing the increasingly dominant technocratic trends, the loss of connection to political discourses, and the resistances to bureaucratisation. Currently, she is interested in comparing the strategies of NGOs in China and the UK. 

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Anitra Balig

Baliga, Anitra (Dr)

Anitra’s dissertation project, which she defended in June 2020, looks into the social construction of urban land markets in Mumbai from the perspective of real estate developers. Anitra has particular interest and research expertise in analysing the commodification of land, the inevitable counters to the commodification of land, and the consequences of both processes on the socio-spatial transformation of cities. Her research interests cover the sub-fields of urban and economic sociology, economic geography, urban studies, and urban development. Anitra’s research goal, in the next three to five years, is to develop a stronger overlap between the social sciences and the built environment, particularly by connecting the subfield of economic sociology with urban studies. Anitra is currently analysing the structures that underpin land development in liberalising India, by paying attention to the hybridity and patchworkness of housing development, and its often-unintended entanglement with finance logics.  This new phase of her research looks more broadly at the Indian case to study comparatively, what effect foreign investment liberalisations have had on different cities across the country.

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Gökmenoğlu, Birgân (Dr)

Birgan is an Affiliated Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE). She holds a PhD in Political Sociology from LSE, an MA in Sociology from the University of Southern California (USC), and a BA in Social and Political Sciences from Sabanci University. She is a political ethnographer with an expertise in social movements in contemporary Turkey.

Birgan’s current research is concerned with temporality as a subject and instrument of political contention from a comparative perspective. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Temporality and Social Movements: A Political Ethnography of Activism in Contemporary Turkey (2016-2018)” investigated the ways in which grassroots oppositional movements were affected by the accelerated authoritarian turn in Turkish politics after the 2016 military coup attempt.

Birgan’s research and teaching interests are in political ethnography, contentious politics, social movements, authoritarian transitions, democratic theory, and contemporary politics in Turkey, with a focus on the role of temporality in political struggles. She has taught “Introduction to Sociology” at Bogazici University as a Visiting Lecturer, “Middle East Politics in Transnational Perspective” in the Government Department at LSE as a Guest Teacher, and “Political Sociology” and “Researching London: Advanced Methods” in the Department of Sociology at LSE as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She has also organized numerous international workshops, including the weekly Contentious Politics Workshop at the LSE’s Government Department from 2017 to 2019. 

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Li, Gordon (Dr)

Gordon's PhD dissertation analyses the formation of cultural taste in China by examining music consumption in the most developed Chinese megacities, finding that reform and opening led to parental privileges and divergent childhood circumstances that fostered differentiated tastes. He received his PhD degree in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2020. His research interests include cultural consumption, taste, cultural capital and the sociology of culture. Gordon hopes to advance the understanding of cultural consumption and the sociological concept of cultural capital as a form of social distinction. 

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Naamneh, Haneen (Dr)

Haneen Naamneh is an Affiliated Research Fellow with the Sociology department at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a researcher with the project Archival City – Bridging Urban Past and Future, and a fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany. She holds a PhD in Sociology from LSE, LLM from The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and LLB from Haifa University.

Her research is concerned with the social and legal history of Arab Jerusalem between 1948–1967. Through a study of the Jerusalem municipality archival records, she traces the political, social, legal and economic transformation in Arab Jerusalem after 1948. Specifically, she studies the city’s urban loss and revival, including in the areas of municipal law and labour rights, local economy, tourism and infrastructure. Haneen’s essay ‘A Municipality Seeking Refuge – Jerusalem Municipality in 1948’, published in the Jerusalem Quarterly journal, won the 2019 Ibrahim Dakkak Award for Outstanding Essay on Jerusalem.

In the past, Haneen worked as a lawyer, and later as a research assistant with the LSE Middle East Centre. She is a translator with several research centres, and has contributed to a number of Arab newspapers and cultural media platforms, including Assafir al-Arabi and Jadaliyya.

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