Professor James Manor

Contact details

Professor James Manor
BA (Yale), DPhil (Sussex)
Emeritus Professor of Commonwealth Studies
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Senate House Malet Street London WC1E 7HU
020 7862 8825
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Contemporary History, Globalization & Development, Human rights, Local Government, Modern History , Political Institutions
Africa, Asia, South America
Summary of research interests and expertise:

Politics, development and state-society relations in less developed countries; contemporary South Asia (especially India); decentralisation; elections; politicians, political institutions and poverty

Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
01-Nov-2015 The Politics of Social Protection: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh


 in L.Tillin, R. Deshpande and K.K. Kailash (eds.) Politics of Welfare: Comparisons across Indian States (Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2015) pp. 168-99.

01-Sep-2015 “India: The Struggle to Regenerate Democracy”


in W.P.Shiveley and P. Kurzer (eds.) Comparative Governance (McGraw Hill, New York, 2015).

01-Sep-2015 As Hierarchies Wane: Explaining Inter-Caste Accommodation in Rural India


in C. Bates, A. Tanabe and S. Das (eds.) Human and International Security in India since 1947 (Routledge, London and New Delhi, 2015).

05-May-2015 An Odisha Landslide Buries both National Parties: Assessing the State and Parliamentary Elections of 2014


Contemporary South Asia (June 2015) pp. 198-210. DOI:10.1080/09584935.2015.1019426

01-Sep-2014 Key Issues in the Study of State Politics in India


in J. Schottli (ed.) Politics in South Asia: Culture, Rationality and Conceptual Flow (Springer, Heidelberg, 2014).

01-Sep-2014 Foreword


in H.K. Nagarajan, H.P. Binswanger-Mkhize and S.S. Meenakshisundaram, Decentralization and Empowerment for Rural Development (Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2014

01-Jul-2011 Against the Odds: Politicians, Institutions and the Struggle against Poverty

with N. Ng'ethe and M. Melo

01-Jan-2010 "Prologue" to a new edition of: Rajni Kothari (ed.) Caste in Indian Politics.

Orient Blackswan (Longmans), New Delhi and London. This was a major undertaking -- to summarise changes in Indian politics and in the caste system over the last 25 years, and to analyse the interplay of these two things. This volume is THE classic text on the topic, so it was worth doing.

01-Jan-2010 "Local Government" in N. Jayal and P.B. Mehta (eds.) The Oxford Companion to Indian Politics

Oxford University Press, Delhi and London

01-Jan-2010 "Beyond Clientelism" in A.E. Ruud and P. Price (eds.) Leaders and Politics in South Asia

Routledge, London and New Delhi

01-Nov-2009 Broadening and Deepening Democracy: Political Innovation in Karnataka

Routledge, London and New Delhi

01-Jan-2007 'Aid that Works: Successful Development in Fragile States'

World Bank, Washington

Publications available on SAS-space:

Date Details
Jun-2003 Durning-Lawrence Online: Benefits Of A Retrospective Catalogue Conversion Project


The University of London Library has recently undertaken a project to catalogue one of its special collections online, that of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (1837-1914), a protagonist of the Baconian theory in the controversy over the authorship of the works attributed to Shakespeare. The collection is especially rich in editions of Bacon's works and other Baconiana and in seventeenth-century English drama, with other strengths being emblem books and early editions of the works of Daniel Defoe. This article places the retrospective cataloguing project in the context of the international drive for retrospective conversion of antiquarian material and of the Library's mission to support research within the federal University of London and the region and internationally. It describes the method used for cataloguing, then focuses on the benefits of the project both academically for researchers and administratively. In addition to the commonly acknowledged benefits of multiple access points in online catalogue records and speed and precision of searching from anywhere in the world, others include the opportunity as part of the project to conduct a preservation survey with little extra cost of time or handling, establishing the rarity of particular items and classes of items in the collection, and insight into the collector provided especially by provenance notes in the catalogue records, enabling scholars to learn a considerable amount about Durning-Lawrence and his collecting patterns from direct electronic access. The value of projects conducted along similar lines may easily be inferred.Pre-print of article published in Libri, 53(2) (June 2003), 142-8.

Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence: a Baconian and his Books


What, How and Why: Accessing Incunabula at Senate House Library, University of London


This article is based on a project undertaken in 2008 to catalogue the incunabula (fifteenthcentury printed books) at Senate House Library, University of London (previously known as the University of London Library). The project was unusual because it dealt with books which resembled manuscripts, and which have a long history of printed description which sometimes jars with modern online conventions for resource discovery. The article summarizes the desires which Anglo-American scholars have expressed for the content of descriptions of incunabula in the contexts of printed and union catalogues, and assesses the extent to which these are relevant to the online catalogues of specific libraries. It describes the challenges, including the tensions between scholarly printed incunabula literature and library conventions, and the approach taken at Senate House Library to resolve them. It further evaluates the timing for the project and assesses the project’s results, which ranged from institutional to international in scope.

May-2017 Folios in Context: Collecting Shakespeare at the University of London


Shakespearean holdings at Senate House Library, University of London, shot into international prominence when in 2013 the then library director, Christopher Pressler, attempted to sell a set of the first four Shakespeare folios given to the University as part of a named special collection, to be kept together in perpetuity. By this time Shakespeare had long been described as a particular strength of the University Library, largely on the basis of its eleven seventeenth-century Shakespeare folios. Yet the Library had begun with negligible literary holdings. When it opened as the University of London Library in 1877, it did so merely with the nine-volume Cambridge edition of 1863-6, a volume of Shakespeare’s poetry, and two translations of Hamlet. The current article discusses the background of those Folios, in particular the First Folio formerly owned by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence (noted in literature from 1821 onwards) and the set of Shakespeare folios from the library of Sir Louis Sterling. It looks at their earlier provenance and use in detail not provided by the censuses of First Folios, and explores their context within the collections of the Baconian Durning-Lawrence and the high-spot collector Sterling. The article further suggests the background which could have made an institution with no literary pretensions want the works of England’s prominent playwright as means of enhancing national significance. It discusses the Library’s treatment and appreciation of the Durning-Lawrence and Sterling collections and traces their influence on further acquisitions, especially under the guiding hand of University Librarian John Henry Pyle Pafford. And it shows the relationship between educational value and prestige in wanting to own antiquarian works pertaining to Shakespeare—the latter an element which no surrogate, printed or digital, can replace.

Additional Publications

Publications available in Senate House Libraries

Research Projects & Supervisions

Research projects:

Expanding Not Shrinking Social Programmes: Brazil, India, China, South Africa

This is a three-year ESRC funded research project (from 1 October 2012), with an 18-member international team which I am coordinating. We focus on the political and policy processes which have led governments in these four countries since about 2002 to increase efforts to tackle poverty and inequality -- and the implications of this trend.

Implications of the Declining Power of Caste Hierarchies in Rural India

This project, funded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation in New York, focuses on the implications for power dynamics of the declining power of caste hierarchies over rural dwellers' thinking and action. This is one of the most important changes to occur in India since independence in 1947, but very few scholars have analysed its implications.

Professional Affiliations


Name Type Activity Start date End date
International Centre for Local Democracy, Visby, Sweden International research related collaboration Member of International Steering Committee and lecturer at inaugural conference 01-Apr-2010
Visiting Professor, University of Pune, India I will pay visits to the university to interact with students and teachers who study society and politics in India. 01-Nov-2012 31-Oct-2013
Back to top