Raheel Dhattiwala is affiliated as a research fellow (adjunct) in the Department of Sociology in the Group Violence Project, funded by the ERC Consolidator grant. Together with lead investigator, Don Weenink, she works on group behaviour and its influence on the likelihood and severity of violence in public space.
A sociologist by training, Raheel’s primary research interest is the study of ethnic riots, particularly the spatial component of collective violence and intergroup relations. Why do riots occur in some places, not others? In the face of politically orchestrated violence, how do individual actors—rioters and targets of violence—behave during an attack?
Raheel read for an M.Sc. (2008) and a D.Phil. in Sociology (2014) at the University of Oxford. In 2019, her research at Oxford was published as a monograph by Cambridge University Press titled, Keeping the Peace: Spatial Differences in Hindu-Muslim Violence in Gujarat in 2002. The book disentangles wider political and economic factors from the micro-level conditions for violence (and peace) to actually occur. Arguments make a case for the prevalence of peace even in the presence of intergroup hostility.
She has also published with Politics & Society, Qualitative Sociology, Contemporary South Asia, and Economic & Political Weekly.
Formerly, she was a senior reporter with the Times of India (2001-2007) and continues to engage with the media as an expert commentator on ethnic riots and politics, such as with NDTV India, The Hindu, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Wire, and others.