Laurent Gayer

Researcher, CNRS
Phone: +33158717034 -
Laurent Gayer earned his PhD in political science from Sciences Po in 2004. He specializes in the Indian sub-continent, and more particularly in the study of urban dynamics and violent mobilisations in India and Pakistan. Through his research on the violent transformation of South Asian cities, he also became interested in the role of poetry in the manufacturing of consensus and dissent among South Asian Muslims.

Laurent taught at Sciences Po (1999-2002) and INALCO (2003-2005) before joining the Centre universitaire de recherches sur l’action publique et le politique (CURAPP) in Amiens in 2008 and the New Delhi based Centre de sciences humaines (CSH) and then CERI in 2013.

His most recent book, Karachi. Ordered Disorder and the Struggle for the City, was published by Hurst (London), HarperCollins (Delhi) and Oxford University Press (New York and Karachi) in 2014. The result of extensive fieldwork in Karachi between 2001 and 2013, this book defends the idea that, in contrast to the ‘chaotic’ and ‘anarchic’ city portrayed in journalistic accounts, there is indeed order of a kind in the city’s permanent civil war. Far from being entropic, Karachi’s polity is predicated upon relatively stable patterns of domination, rituals of interaction and forms of arbitration, which have made violence manageable for its population—even if this does not exclude a pervasive state of fear, which results from the continuous transformation of violence in the course of its updating.

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Work in Progress

Political and criminal violence in India and Pakistan, Relations between poetry and politics among the Urdu-speaking populations of India and Pakista

Research Interests

India, Pakistan, Cities and territories, Social movements, Islam

  • Languages

    English, Spanish
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