Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Dr R. (Raheel) Dhattiwala

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Cultural Sociology
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  
  • Postal address:
    Nieuwe Achtergracht  166
    1018 WV  Amsterdam

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Sociology in the Group Violence Project, funded by the ERC Consolidator grant. The project, led by Don Weenink, aims to understand how group behaviour affects the likelihood and severity of violence in public space. We propose to employ interpretive methods and video analysis tools, such as Observer Pro XT, to analyse raw film footage of violence (e.g. street fights, riots, football hooliganism) across India, UK, US and Netherlands.

My primary research interest is the study of ethnic violence, particularly the spatial component of collective violence. 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? In arguments I make in Qualitative Sociology (2015), crowd behaviour is explained in terms of the cognitive decision-making processes that attackers used after they were mobilised for attacks. These decisions were based on the ecology of the targeted space: the built environment and the population distribution of the targeted group, which eventually explained microspatial variation in the outcomes of attacks.

I also study intergroup relations, by examining the spatial context within which group relations develop.

I have previously worked for six years as a journalist with The Times of India in Ahmedabad (India) and continue to engage with both academic and non-academic audiences, by way of editorial contributions in newspapers, such as The Hindu and Hindustan Times. See The Australian, Bergens Tidende, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Q Code for interviews.


D.Phil. Sociology, 2014: University of Oxford, UK; funded by the Nuffield Sociology Doctoral Studentship Award (£ 54,942)

M.Sc. Sociology, 2008:  University of Oxford, UK

B.Sc. Chemistry, 1997:  Gujarat University, India



Book project, under contract

The riot explained: Political logic, spatial configuration, and communal cooperation in Hindu-Muslim violence in Gujarat, 2002: Cambridge University Press   

Peer-reviewed articles, under review

(with Don Weenink) 'De-escalatory situations in street violence. An explorative study based on video analysis'





  • Dhattiwala, R. (2016). The Ecology of Ethnic Violence: Attacks on Muslims of Ahmedabad in 2002. Qualitative Sociology, 39(1), 71-95. DOI: 10.1007/s11133-015-9320-5 
  • Dhattiwala, R. (2016). Next-door Strangers: Explaining ‘Neighbourliness’ between Hindus and Muslims in a Riot-affected City. In R. Hassan (Ed.), Indian muslims: struggling for equality of citizenship (pp. 146-167). (Islamic Studies Series; Vol. 22). Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Publishing.


  • Susewind, R., & Dhattiwala, R. (2015). Spatial Variation in the “Muslim Vote” in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014. Internationales Asienforum: International Quarterly for Asian Studies, 45(3-4), 353-381.


  • Susewind, R., & Dhattiwala, R. (2014). Spatial Variation in the “Muslim Vote” in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014. Economic and Political Weekly, 49(39), 99-110.


  • Dhattiwala, R., & Biggs, M. (2012). The Political Logic of Ethnic Violence: The Anti-Muslim Pogrom in Gujarat, 2002. Politics & Society, 40(4), 483-516. DOI: 10.1177/0032329212461125 


  • Dhattiwala, R. (2014). The Puzzle of the BJP’s Muslim Supporters in Gujarat: A public policy report. Chennai, India: The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.

Media appearance

  • Dhattiwala, Raheel (29-11-2017): Left, Right and Centre (anchored by Nidhi Razdan) NDTV English. The Muslim Vote For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat, India.

Talk / presentation

  • Dhattiwala, R. (invited speaker) (11-2017): Ethical and methodological dilemmas of conducting research in riot-affected neighbourhoods, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ashoka University, Delhi.
  • Dhattiwala, R. (invited speaker) (8-2017): Explaining 'neighbourliness' among involuntary residents in riot-affected spaces, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Delhi.
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  • No ancillary activities

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