Democratic Deepening in Comparative Perspective: Lessons From Brazil, India, and South Africa


Location: Hesburgh Center, Room C103

Patrick Heller, associate professor of sociology, Brown University

Heller’s areas of interest include development, political sociology, comparative political economy, democratization, and social movements.

Heller’s primary area of research is the comparative study of democratic deepening. He is the author of The Labor of Development: Workers and the Transformation of Capitalism in Kerala, India (Cornell University Press, 1999) and a co-author of Social Democracy in the Periphery (Cambridge, 2007). He has written on a range of topics including democratic consolidation, the politics of decentralization, local democracy, urban transformation, and social movements. Heller is currently finishing a four-year research project on the post-apartheid city. The project examines the impact of planned transformation on the racial and economic reconfiguration of South Africa’s three largest cities. He is also finishing a book on democratization and urban governance in Brazil with Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Marcelo Kunrath Silva (Stanford University Press) and working on a book that explores the relationship between development, democracy, and civil society through a comparative analysis of India, Brazil, and South Africa. Heller is the director of the Watson Institute’s Graduate Program in Development.

He teaches Theory and Research in Development (DEVL 2000), Recent Sociological Theory (SOC 2050), Comparative Political Sociology (SOC 2970) and Globalization and Social Conflict (SOC 1620).