Areas of Interest: development and comparative political economy, globalization, urban governance, democratization and civil society, the production of inequality; focus on South Asia and Southern Africa.
Patrick Heller is professor of international studies at the Institute as well as professor in Brown's Department of Sociology and co-director of the Graduate Program in Development.
His main area of research is the comparative study of democratic deepening, with a particular focus on how institutional designs and civil society configurations can promote more participatory forms of governance. His long-term project is to re-evaluate the relationship between development, democracy, and civil society by comparing India, Brazil, and South Africa.
He has just completed a 4-year NSF-funded research project on the post-apartheid city, using both GIS data and qualitative fieldwork to examine the impact of planned transformation on the racial and economic reconfiguration of South Africa’s three mega cities (http://www.s4.brown.edu/southafrica/homepage.htm). He has also just completed a book of politics and institutional reform in Brazilian municipalities, Bootstrapping Democracy (Stanford University Press) with Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Marcelo Silva.
He is the author of The Labor of Development: Workers in the Transformation of Capitalism in Kerala, India (Cornell University Press, 1999) and co-author of Social Democracy and the Global Periphery (Cambridge University Press, 2006). He has published articles in Politics and Society, World Politics, World Development, Theory and Society, Social Forces, the Journal of African and Asian Studies, the International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies and the Journal of Development Studies, and he was a contributing editor (with Richard Snyder and Dietrich Rueschemeyer) of a special issues of Studies in Comparative and International Development on development and globalization.
Heller holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley.