Dr Martin Webb

Staff details

Position Lecturer and Exams Officer
Department Anthropology
Email m.webb (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7796
Dr Martin Webb

Martin’s research engages with active citizenship, ethical politics, transparency and accountability, urban governance, and most recently, access to public goods such as clean air and water in urban settings.

 His doctoral research focused on the organisation of Right to Information (RTI) activism in Delhi, India, and how initiatives to promote transparency, accountability and state reform play out across the social and economic terrain of the city.

Subsequent research followed the rise of popular movements for anti-corruption legislation and ethical politics in India that emerged contemporary to the protests of the “Arab Spring”, “Occupy” and anti-austerity movements in the UK and Europe. This led to the publication, with Prof. Pnina Werber and Dr Kathryn Spellman-Poots, of "The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: Beyond the Arab Spring" by Edinburgh University Press in 2014.

Martin has an ongoing interest in how new movements for ethical politics emerging in India engage with the Indian Diaspora in the UK particularly in the run up to national and state elections.

Academic Qualifications:

Martin came to higher education in his mid-thirties as a mature student after a number of years employed in factories, on construction sites, and as a care worker. He is a firm believer in higher education as a way for adults to discover new directions and interests at any stage in their lives.


1999 – Access to Higher Education: City College Brighton

2000 – 2003   BA Anthropology and Development Studies: University of Sussex

2004 – 2005  MSc Social Research Methods: University of Sussex (assisted by seedcorn funding from the university)

2005 – 2011 Dphil (PhD) in Anthropology: University of Sussex. (Funded by the ESRC and the Wenner Gren Foundation. Supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Harrison and Dr. Geert de Neve)


Before coming to Goldsmiths in 2013 Martin lectured in Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Sussex (2011-12), and directed the Msc. International Development and Social Anthropology at Birkbeck, University of London (2012 – 13).

Martin Teaches the following modules in Anthropology: 

  • Anthropology of Development
  • Ethnography of a Selected Region 2: South Asia
  • Anthropology Today
  • Critical Voices in Development

Area of Supervision:

Martin is interested in supervising students working on topics related, but not limited to, active citizenship, political activism and ethical politics, civil society/NGOs, bureaucracy, state reform, transparency and accountability, urban south Asia.



Edited Book

Werbner, Pnina; Webb, Martin and Spellman-Poots, Kathryn, eds. 2014. The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univerity Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-9334-4

Book Section

Webb, Martin. 2018. Nongovernmental Organizations and Civil Society in Development. In: Hilary Callan, ed. International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. New Jersey: Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 9781118924396

Webb, Martin. 2014. Short Circuits: The Aesthetics of Protest, Media and Martyrdom in Indian Anti-corruption Activism. In: Pnina Werbner; Martin Webb and Kathryn Spellman-Poots, eds. The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univerity Press, pp. 193-221. ISBN 978-0-7486-9334-4


Webb, Martin. 2019. Digital Politics in the Diaspora: U.K. Aam Aadmi Party Supporters Online and Offline. Television and New Media, ISSN 1527-4764

Webb, Martin. 2018. Seeking Signs of Transparency: Audit, Materiality and Monuments to Active Citizenship in New Delhi. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, ISSN 1359-0987

Webb, Martin. 2017. Our Electric Air. Cultural Anthropology, ISSN 0886-7356

von Hellermann, Pauline and Webb, Martin. 2017. On the Frontline: Travelling the Line, British Commuters and Southern Rail. Discover Society(43),

Webb, Martin. 2015. “Contemporary Indian anti-corruption movements and political aesthetics”. FocaalBlog: Art and Visual Anthropology,

Webb, Martin. 2013. Meeting at the Edges: Spaces, Places and Grassroots Governance Activism in Delhi. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal,

Webb, Martin. 2013. Disciplining the everyday state and society? Anti-corruption and Right to Information activism in Delhi. Contributions to Indian Sociology, 47(3), pp. 363-393. ISSN 0069-9667

Webb, Martin. 2012. Activating Citizens, Remaking Brokerage: Transparency Activism, Ethical Scenes, and the Urban Poor in Delhi. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 35(2), pp. 206-222. ISSN 1555-2934

Webb, Martin. 2010. Success stories: rhetoric, authenticity, and the right to information movement in north India. Contemporary South Asia, 18(3), pp. 293-304. ISSN 0958-4935


Webb, Martin. 2017. review of DEMOCRACY AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE INDIAN STATE: The Making of the Right to Information Act. Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series. By Prashant Sharma. London; New York: Routledge, 2015. xx, 238 pp. (Tables.) US$145.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-13-880217-9.. Pacific Affairs.