Gautam Ganapathy

Areas of Interest & Expertise

  • Water and Sanitation Governance
  • Policy Processes in India
  • Sustainability and Decentralised Governance
  • Social Ecology of Water
  • Philosophy of Technology
  • Sociology of Needs
  • Embeddedness and Modernity


Gautam works on the institutional dimensions of drinking water and sanitation in India. He is especially interested in understanding (using a comparative frame) the reform-mediated character of institutions in the sector at a regional/sub-national level in India. In addition to political economy of water and sanitation governance, he is also interested in how dominant institutional cultures in the sector’s organisations shape their disposition to alternative imaginations of drinking water and sanitation provision in India. 

The relationship between water and society interests him, especially aspects of how the ecology of water flows has historically shaped social and political organisation, and how modern hydrological visions and political exigencies shape ecological landscapes. 

Gautam’s research interest also includes how the question of technology is implicated in the climate crisis. He believes that there is an urgent need to consider technology as an independent variable in human affairs – an issue demanding collective moral and political reflection. In this context, he is interested in interrogating the ethical dimensions of knowledge, exclusively produced through a scientific-ontological prism.

Gautam has previously been associated as a Research Fellow with Ashank Desai Centre for Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. He has a PhD in Technology and Development from IIT Bombay. He has obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees (both in Mechanical Engineering) from Coimbatore Institute of Technology and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor respectively. 

Certificate Courses

  • Ecological monitoring for development interventions

    This four-day residential workshop will introduce participants to simple, low-cost techniques that can be used for ecological monitoring and discuss how they can be used to inform development interventions at the local level.


Journal Articles

Working Papers


Newspaper Article

Conference/​Workshop Presentations

  • Ganapathy, G. (2022, May). Beyond NIMBY? What explains public opposition to siting of sanitation infrastructure in Kerala? [Conference presentation]. Deepening Local Governance for Sustainable Management of Solid and Liquid Waste in Small Towns in India. Ashank Desai Centre for Policy Studies, IIT Bombay, Mumbai.
  • Ganapathy, G. (2016, October). Envisioning an alternate imagination of wastewater management for small cities in India. [Workshop presentation]. School of South Asian Studies, University of Berkeley, USA