Established in 1983 in New Delhi, India, the Centre for Social Research (CSR) is dedicated to creating a violence-free, gender-just society through social research, capacity building and advocacy.
Originally named The Centre for Social Research and Action, CSR was founded by a group of social scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru University: Radhakrishnan, Anand Kumar, Ranjana Kumari, N. Rajaram, Renuka Singh and Sudhindra Bhadoria. CSR's founders were inspired by the dream of a truly democratic society, the ideologies and strategies of individuals such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jayaprakesh (J.P.) Naran, and the perspectives of feminist thinkers such as Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir. In the words of CSR Director Ranjana Kumari, "The seeds of our mission were first sown during the period of 1974-1977, when political upheaval in the country brought many thousands of people from across the country to the forefront of socio-political activity and reform-mindedness. It sharpened our ideologies and kindled a new flame in the youth."
In our earliest years, CSR worked to bring attention and justice to all marginalised and underprivileged areas of society. One of our first formal projects, supported by the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission, involved a study on the impact of higher education upon the SC/ST youth of Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, another early area of research focused on the working and living conditions of urban rickshaw drivers. Our initial advisory board included both international and local leaders in the social sciences, including Meghnad Desai, Immanuel Wallerstein, Professor Yogendra Singh and Professor Imtiaz Ahmad.
Over the years, gender gradually emerged as a crosscutting phenomena that colors and shapes the social relations within and between all sectors and groups in India. Since shifting our core focus to issues related to gender, CSR has emerged as one of the most influential and leading institutions working in the field of informed social action and action-oriented research.
With support from the European Union, we formed the Gender Training Institute in 1997 in order to facilitate gender equality through capacity building and training-related activities. We welcomed our newest department, Media and Communication, in 2010 with the goal of increasing the depth, breadth and quality of our messaging. Today, CSR comprises four interdependent and equally vital departments: Research and Knowledge Management, Development, the Gender Training Institute and Communication and Media.