Global Political Economy research seminar 11 Feb: Meera Sabaratnam (SOAS)

The next Global Political Economy research seminar will be delivered by Dr Meera Sabaratnam (SOAS), on: ‘Towards a de-colonial political economy? Re-thinking international statebuilding in Mozambique’


It is at 15:30 in the Arthur Lewis Boardroom on Wednesday 11 February. All are welcome to attend.


Abstract: How can we conduct an analysis of global political relations in a way which begins from a ‘decolonising’ standpoint and ethic? As part of fulfilling this brief, it is necessary to find a way to talk about relevant questions of global exchange and distribution (i.e. the ‘economy’) which incorporates some of the critiques that post-colonial/de-colonial and feminist scholars have made of more ‘standard’ analytic accounts of global political economy. In particular, these suggest we should not a) naturalise the problematic concept of ‘development’ nor b) overly abstract from generalised theories of capitalism in thinking about the political. Moreover they call on us to engage with the concepts of modernity/coloniality, border thinking and standpoint analysis. How might these other modes of thinking change what is examined and how? The second part of the talk will elaborate how research might concretely proceed when informed by these concerns, through discussion of my research on the politics of international statebuilding and development assistance in Mozambique.  This project explores the politics of statebuilding from the perspectives of its ‘targets’. In doing so, it highlights the structures of racialised accumulation and authority through which international intervention unfolds, as well as the kinds of atomising ethics that underpins it.


Meera Sabaratnam is Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS. Prior to this, she was a Temporary Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and LSE Fellow in the Department of International Relations at LSE. Her research focuses on North-South relations, as manifested in both theory and political discourse. She is interested in practices of statebuilding, development and authority-projection across time and space, as well as the forms of political response and organisation to which these give rise. Her geographical focuses are southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. She also blogs on research and other matters at The Disorder of Things ( The talk will cover material from a book which is in-progress.


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