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Abraham, Leena
Designation Professor , Chairperson , Associate Dean
Affiliation Centre for Studies in Sociology of Education, Planning for teaching Research Methodology at the Institute, School of Research Methodology

M.A. (Mumbai),
Ph.D. (Mumbai)

Areas of Interest

Sociology of Education (medical education, gender constructions among youth, youth sexuality and sexuality education, education and employment)


Sociology of Medicine (indigenous medicine, culture and medicine, Ayurveda, medical pluralism)


Agriculture and Education (formal and informal knowledge networks, science/culture interface, knowledge and social stratification)



1. Culture, Knowledge and Society (M. Phil)

2. Sociology of Education-I (M.A. In Elementary Education)

A. Women's Bodies Women's Knowledges: Historical and Feminist Perspectives (M.A. in Women's Studies)

B. Health and Development (M.A. in Social Work) and (M.A. in Health Administration and Hospital Administration)

C. Introduction to Health Social Sciences (Units on Medical Sociology and Anthropology) (M.A. in Health and Hospital Administration)

D. Social Transformation in India (PGP-1) at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode in 2006. (units on 'Politics of Gender, Family and Community' and 'Rethinking Development')



Homi Bhabha Fellowship (2007-09) for research on 'Traditional Knowledge in Modern Settings: A Study of Ayurveda in Kerala, India'



Current research

1. Knowledge Networks and Social Relations in Agriculture

2. Medical Pluralism- caste, class and gender power dynamics


  (2000 onwards)

 Edited Book

Sujatha V. and Leena Abraham (eds.) (2012) Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India. Hyderabad, Orient Black Swan.

 Journal special issue

'Indigenous Systems of Medicine', Special issue of Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLIV, No.16, April 18-24, 2009. (co-editor with Sujatha V.)


  1. Abraham, Leena (2013) 'From Vaidyam to Kerala Ayurveda' The IIAS Newsletter, No. 63, Spring, 28-29.

  2. ---------(2013) ‘Reproduction of Indigenous Knowledge in Plural Cultures: Ayurveda Education in Contemporary India’, in Sociology of Education in India: Disciplinary Perspectives and Contemporary Concerns edited by Geetha Nambissan and Srinivasa Rao. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.

  3. V. Sujatha and Leena Abraham (2012) 'Introduction' in V. Sujatha and Leena Abraham (eds.), Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India. Hyderabad, Orient Black Swan.

  4. Abraham, Leena (2009) ‘Medicine as Culture: Indigenous Medicine in Cosmopolitan Mumbai’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XLIV, No.16: 68-75.

  5. V. Sujatha and Leena Abraham (2009) ‘Medicine, State and Society’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XLIV, No.16: 35-43.

  6. Abraham, Leena (2008) ‘”Mainstreaming AYUSH” Some Considerations’, Health for the Millions, Vol.34, No. 2&3: 24-26.

  7. ---------(2006) “Access to and Outcomes of Secondary Education for the Urban Poor: Findings from a Study in Mumbai City’, Rajagiri Journal of Social Development, Vol.2, No.2: 192-213.

  8. --------- (2005) ‘AIDS Awareness Campaigns, Sex Education Programmes and Pornography: The Shaping of Sexuality Awareness among College Students. Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol.66, No. 4: 472-511.

  9. --------- (2005) ‘Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) and Public Health Care in India’. In Leena V. Gangolli, R. Duggal and A Shukla (eds.), Review of Health Care in India. Mumbai, Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes, 187-223.

  10. --------- (2004) ‘Building Cultural Capital to Combat Poverty: Globalisation, Education and the Urban Poor’. In Richard Ruzicka, Jeanne H. Ballantine and Jose A. Ruiz San Roman (eds.), Key Contexts for Education and Democracy in Globalising Societies. Proceedings of Education, Participation, Globalisation Prague 2004 Conference, Prague, ISBN 80-86742-05-9, A2 11-18.

  11. --------- (2003) ‘Risk Behaviour and Misperceptions among Low-income College Students of Mumbai’. In Sarah Bott, Shireen Jejeebhoy, Iqbal Shah and Chander Puri (eds), Towards Adulthood: Exploring the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents in South Asia, Geneva, World Health Organisation, 73-77.

  12. --------- (2002) `Bhai-behen, True-Love, Time Pass: Friendships and Sexual Partnerships among Youth in an Indian Metropolis’. Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol.4, No.3: 337-353. (Reproduced in Michael Koenig, Shireen Jejeebhoy, John Cleland and Bela Ganatra (eds.) (2008), Reproductive Health in India: New Evidence. Jaipur, Rawat Pubications, 47-64.)

  13. --------- (2001) `Redrawing the Lakshman Rekha: Gender Differences and Cultural Constructions in Youth Sexuality in Urban India’, South Asia, Vol.XXIV, Special Issue, 133-156. (Reproduced in Sanjay Srivastava (ed.) (2004), Sexual Sites, Seminal Attitudes: Sexualities, Masculinities and Culture in South Asia. New Delhi, Sage Publications, 209-241).

  14. --------- (2001) `Understanding Youth Sexuality: A Study of College Students in Mumbai City’, The Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. 62, No. 2, April: 233-248.

  15. ---------(2001) `Ethical and Methodological Conflicts in Sexuality Research’, Issues in Medical Ethics, Vol. IX, No.1: 9-11. (Reproduced in Neha Madhiwala, (eds.) (2005), Indian Journal of Medical Ethics: Selected Readings 1993-2003. Mumbai, Forum for Medical Ethics Society and Centre for Studies in Ethics and Rights, 159-167).

Additional Info

Select Conference Papers and presentations (2005 onwards)

 'Indigenous' knowledge and gender power relations: Feminist sociological explorations'. National Seminar on Genders, Feminisms and Sociologies: Towards a state of altered-ness, January 29-31, 2014. Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai.

 'Sociology in an Applied Setting: Reflections on Teaching and Research at TISS'. National Seminar on Sociology in India and the Bombay School: Retrospect and Prospects, Dept. of Sociology, University of Mumbai and Indian Sociological Society. September 23-24, 2011, Mumbai

 'Monocultural Discourse and Plural Knowledges: Challenging the public health paradigm', conference on 'Political and Cultural Expressions of Indian Democracy', organised by the South Asia Studies Council, Yale University, New Haven, USA. April 30-May 02, 2010.

 'Institutionalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation of Ayurveda: Issues of Caste, Class and Gender Mobility in Kerala'. 37th Annual Conference of the Kerala Sociological Society, November 19-21, 2010 Calicut, Kerala.

 'Re-imagining Traditional Institutions: Ayurveda's Response to Dominant Bio-medical Discourse'. 36th All India Sociological Conference, December 27-30, 2010, Cuttack, Odisha.

 'Negotiating Tradition and Modernity: Women Practitioners of Ayurveda in Kerala, India'. Conference on Gendering East/West, organised by the Center for Women's studies, University of York, UK, July 8-10, 2009.

 'Gender Analysis of Traditional Medicine', Public Health, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Practices organised by The Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and The French Institute of Pondicherry, Pondicherry, February 29– March 4, 2008.

 ‘Culture, Medicine and Identity: Kerala Ayurveda in Mumbai’. Workshop on The Politics of Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India, May 1 – 2, 2008, JNU, New Delhi.

 'Local Needs vs. Global Demands: Trends in Institutionalisation of Indian Systems of Medicine', seminar on Medical Practices and the Institutionalisation of Therapeutic Practices in India: Social and Legal Perspectives', organised by The French Institute of Pondicherry, Dec. 7–8, 2006.

‘Contemporary Ayurveda Education in India: Negotiating Hegemony and Building Epistemological Bridges’. National Seminar on ‘Sociology of Education in India: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, organized by the Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU, New Delhi, March, 9-10, 2006.

 ‘Culture and Medicine in a Cosmopolitan Context: The Social and Institutional Networks of Kerala Ayurveda in Mumbai’. National Seminar on ‘Back to the Future: Indigenous Systems of Medicine in contemporary India, organized by the School of Social Systems, JNU, New Delhi, February 24-25, 2006.

 ‘Negotiating Humoral Concepts in a Biomedical World: Significance of Ayurveda Medical Education’. International workshop on Healing Today: Soundings in the Contemparary Fashions of Indian Medicines organised by the French Institute of Pondicherry, India, October 28-29, 2005.