Patrick Heller

Phone: on sabbatical

Patrick Heller studies how inequality shapes development, urban transformation, democracy and globalization. His work has focused primarily on Brazil, India and South Africa. He has written on a range of topics including democratic deepening, social movements, state transformation and development policy. His work has drawn on extensive fieldwork, survey data and spatial analysis.


Patrick Heller is a professor of sociology and international studies at Brown University and the director of the Graduate Program in Development at the Watson Institute. His main area of research is the comparative study of social inequality and democratic deepening. He is the author of The Labor of Development: Workers in the Transformation of Capitalism in Kerala, India (Cornell 1999) and co-author of Social Democracy and the Global Periphery (Cambridge 2006). He has published articles on urbanization, comparative democracy, social movements, development policy, civil society and state transformation. His most recent book - Bootstrapping Democracy (Stanford 2011) with Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Marcelo Silva - explores politics and institutional reform in Brazilian municipalities. Heller has also done research on urban transformation in South Africa and built a data base on spatial transformation of the post-apartheid city. He is currently in India doing research on urban governance and transformation in India.


Patrick Heller studies development, political sociology, and comparative political economy. He is the author of The Labor of Development (Cornell University Press, 1999) which examines the role of subordinate classes in the transformation to capitalism in the Indian state of Kerala. He has written on a range of topics on India, including democratic consolidation, the politics of economic transformation, social capital and social movements. Most recently, he has conducted fieldwork in South Africa, exploring processes of democratization through case studies of the civics movement and local government re-structuring. He is currently engaged in a long-term project exploring the dynamics of democratic deepening in India, Brazil and South Africa.


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley


Barrett Hazeltine citation for outstanding teaching, voted by the class of 2003

Core Member, Network of South Asian Politics and Political Economy, Center for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan (funded by Ford Foundation)

Chancellor's Dissertation-Year Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley

John L. Simpson Scholarship, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley

American Institute of Indian Studies, Research Fellowship

Newhouse Foundation Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley

Teaching Award, Outstanding Teaching Assistant, University of California, Berkeley

Teaching Award, Outstanding Teaching Assistant, University of California, Berkeley

University Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley


American Sociological Association


DS 200, Theory and Research in Development
Sociology 205, Recent Sociology Theory
Sociology 162, Globalization and Social Conflict
Sociology 297-02, Democracy and Civil Society in Comparative Perspective
Development Studies 198, Seminar in Development Studies

University of Durban-Westville:
Department of Social Policy, Globalization and its Implications for South Africa

Columbia University
International Affairs, Micro-Level Development
International Affairs, Theories of Social Transformation
International Affairs, State and Society in the Developing World
International Affairs, Political Economy of South Asia
International Affairs, The Third World State

Funded Research

National Science Foundation, Human Social Dynamics, P.I., "Remaking the Apartheid City" ($459,621)

World Bank, with Shubham Chaudhuri and Gianpaolo Baiocchi, "An Evaluation of Participatory Budgeting in Brazilian Municipalities" ($105,000)

Ford Foundation, India, principal investigator with Shubham Chaudhuri (Columbia University) and in collaboration with the Centre for Development Studies, January 2002 – present, "Does Democratic Decentralization Make a Difference?" ($80,000)

Salomon Grant, principal investigator, May 2002-present, "Technocrats, Politicians and Civil Society in the Building of the Post-Apartheid City: Democratic Transformation in Durban and Johannesburg" ($10,000)

MacArthur Foundation, collaborative research grants (with co-researchers), awarded $74,700

Swiss Development Cooperation, $3,000 grant to partially fund conference on democratic decentralization in Kerala, India

American Institute of Indian Studies, senior short-term research grant, awarded $4,500 for four-month research project

Institute of Social and Economic Theory and Research, Columbia University, (with Shubham Chaudhuri) awarded $10,000 for seed grant project to assess financial and developmental impact of decentralization in Kerala, India

American Institute of Indian Studies, senior short-term research grant, awarded for four-month research project on the politics of class compromise in Kerala, India