Academic Profile : Faculty

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Assoc Prof Laavanya Kathiravelu
Associate Chair (Graduate and Continuing Education)
Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences
External Links

PhD in Sociology (2007-2011)
Macquarie University (Sydney), Department of Sociology & Centre for Research on Social Inclusion

Dissertation title: “Destination Dubai: Migration and city-building in a rapidly developing city-state”

Masters in Communication, Culture and Society (2003-2004)
University of London, Goldsmiths College, Department of Sociology

Bachelor of Social Science (Honours in Sociology) (1999-2003)
National University of Singapore, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


2014- present Assistant Professor: Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
Division of Sociology

2011-2014 Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Germany)
Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity

2011-2013 Visiting Research Affiliate: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

2013 Visiting Research Affiliate: Cities Research Cluster, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore

2012 Guest lecturer: Department of Sociology & Department of Geography. National University of Singapore

2009-2011 Instructor and guest lecturer: Department Of Sociology. Macquarie University (Australia)

2008 Lecturer & course convenor in Sociology: The American University in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

2007 Instructor: Department Of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney (Australia)

2006 Lecturer & course convenor in Sociology: Singapore Institute of Management - degree administered by the Open University UK.

2005-2007 Research Assistant: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
For Cluster Leaders: Professor Chua Beng Huat and Professor Bryan Turner
My research falls at the nexus of contemporary migration and cities. I am interested in how these two categories of analysis interact with each other in social and spatial terms. I explored this in my PhD looking at labour migration and city-building processes in Dubai. In my postdoctoral work, I have built on previous interests in everyday interactions and diversity by exploring how increased migration is affecting the ways in which a diverse urban population effectively co-exist. This was done in the context of a multi-sited project in three continents, and collaborating with a team of researchers, as well as film makers.
My work aims to disrupt the victimhood discourse surrounding marginalised migrants and broadens understandings of contemporary cities with a focus on more embodied and affective modes of everyday life. Friendship and social networks has been one aspect of contemporary city life that I have started developing a research focus in. My current research expands on the interests on migrants and urban areas by looking at middle class Indian migrants and new citizens in Singapore - a group that has been largely under researched but have contributed to the increase in Singapore's minority racial groupings.
In the future I hope to expand the focus of my work in keeping up the comparative element of the research. This I believe will lead to the opportunity for theory-building. I am especially committed to pushing the theory-building agenda in Asia and more broadly, the Global South.
  • Does citizenship matter? Interrogating second-generation (im)migrant incorporation in Singapore and Qatar
  • Entry by Ethnicity: race, migration & nation- building in Asia and the Persian Gulf