Dr. Lucia Michelutti

Dr. Lucia Michelutti

Department of Anthropology



Lucia Michelutti’s main interests are in the intersection between political and legal anthropology and the anthropology of religion. She is interested in the ethnographic study of popular democracy, charismatic politicians, questions of identity (caste and race), law and order (and crime) as well as cultures of leadership, authority and masculinity. She has carried out fieldwork in North India (Uttar Pradesh) since 1998 and has worked in Venezuela and on South Asia in comparative context since 2006. She is currently directing the research programme ‘Democratic Cultures’ which is largely funded by a major ERC-Starting Investigator Grant – funded by the European Union as part of the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) (2012-2016).

Key Publications


(2008) The Vernacularisation of Democracy: Politics, Caste and Religion in India. Delhi, London: Routledge.

Edited Works:

(2013) Divine Kinship and Politics. (Edited with Alice Forbess). Special Issue of Focaal,Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, Winter 2013. Vol. 67

Articles and Chapters:

(2014) Kingship without kings. In Anastasia Piliavsky (ed.) Patronage as the Politics of South Asia. Cambridge University Press

(2014) with Oliver Heath. Political cooperation and distrust: identity politics and Yadav-Muslim relations, 1999-2009. In Jeffery, R., Lerche, J. and C. Jeffrey (eds.) Development Failure and Identity Politics in Uttar Pradesh. Delhi: Sage

(2013) Sons of Krishna and Sons of Bolivar. Charismatic kinship and leadership across India and Venezuela. Focaal – Journal of Historical and Global Anthropology, Winter 2013, Vol. 67

(2013) with Oliver Heath, The politics of entitlement: affirmative action and strategic voting in Uttar Pradesh, India. Focaal – Journal of Historical and Global Anthropology, Spring 2013, Vol. 65

(2011) Ram and Krishna symbolism in Uttar Pradesh politics: religious socialism and Hindutva. In Daniela Berti and Nicolas Jaoul (eds), The Cultural Entrenchment of Hindutva: Mediation and Resistance. Delhi: Routledge.

(2010) Wrestling with (body) politics: understanding muscular political styles in North India. In Pamela Price and Arild Ruud (eds), Power and Influence in South Asia: Bosses, Lords, and Captains. Delhi, London: Routledge.

Projects and Collaborations

Director of the  ‘Democratic Cultures’ research programme

Teaching Interests

Political anthropology; anthropology of crime; anthropology of religion