Dr Nicholas Bernards
|Tel.: +44(0) 24765 28445|
|Room: R3.19 Ramphal Building|
Advice and Feedback Hours, Term 1: Tuesdays, 11:30-12:30pm (via MS Teams); Wednesdays 11:30-12:30pm (R3.19 or MS Teams)
Please use this linkLink opens in a new window to sign up for a meeting time. If you are not a student at Warwick, please email me with any queries rather than booking an appointment using this form.
- Director of Graduate Studies (Taught)
- Equity Officer for the School for Cross-faculty Studies
I am a political economist with research and teaching interests in the past and present intersections of labour, finance, and global governance. My work is historically-oriented, with an emphasis on how long-run legacies of colonialism have shaped the present context of sustainable development practice.
Prior to starting at Warwick in 2017, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Political Studies at Queen's University, Canada, funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I completed a PhD in International Relations at McMaster University in 2016.
I am currently the Equity Officer and Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the School for Cross-Faculty Studies, and Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes in GSD.
I have published on a range of issues around labour, finance, and governance including colonial histories, agrarian finance, informal economies, technological change, and international labour regulation.
My first book, The Global Governance of Precarity (Routledge, 2018), examines the governance of irregular forms of labour in sub-Saharan Africa through a historical study of the activities of the International Labour Organization. I draw together analyses of ILO policy towards forced labour, unemployment, and social protection for irregular workers in sub-Saharan Africa from 1919-present.
My most recent book, A Critical History of Poverty Finance (Pluto Press, 2022) looks at the global history of efforts to extend financial services to the poorest. The book puts recent initiatives promoting the use of new financial technologies in the context of a longer history dating back to inter-war colonialism. The book draws on this history as a way of examining the limits of neoliberal models of development, showing how efforts to resolve poverty through the construction of new markets have often exacerbated existing patterns of uneven development.
I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD students interested in topics which intersect with any of my research interests.
I'm especially keen to hear from researchers interested in: critical political economy and political ecology approaches to sustainable development issues; global labour issues; global governance; technological change; critical approaches to finance and sustainable development; historical approaches to sustainable development; colonial histories.
Topics I'm currently supervising or advising:
- Alternative finance for sustainable energy
- Term 1: GD309 Debt, Money, and Global Sustainable DevelopmentLink opens in a new window
- Term 2: GD310 World of Work: Global Perspectives on Labour and LivelihoodsLink opens in a new window
- Term 2: GD906 Sustainable Development PolicyLink opens in a new window
Fellow - Higher Education Academy
- (2022) A Critical History of Poverty Finance: Colonial Roots and Neoliberal FailuresLink opens in a new window, Pluto Press -- Available open access hereLink opens in a new window.
- (2018) The Global Governance of Precarity: Primitive Accumulation and the Politics of Irregular WorkLink opens in a new window, Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy.
- (2021) 'Placing surplus populations in global capitalism: fluidity, difference, governanceLink opens in a new window', special issue of Geoforum, 126. [co-edited with Susanne Soederberg]
- (2019) 'The changing technological infrastructures of global financeLink opens in a new window', special issue of Review of International Political Economy, 26 (5). [co-edited with Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn]
Recent journal articles
- (2023) 'States, money, and the persistence of colonial financial hierarchies in British West AfricaLink opens in a new window', Development and Change, 54 (1): 64-86.
- (2022) 'Waiting for the market? Microinsurance and development as anticipatory marketizationLink opens in a new window', Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 54 (5): 949-965.
- (2022) 'Colonial financial infrastructures and Kenya's uneven fintech boomLink opens in a new window', Antipode 54 (3): 708-728
- (2022) 'The World Bank, agricultural credit, and the rise of neoliberalism in global developmentLink opens in a new window', New Political Economy 27 (1): 116-131.
- (2021) 'Relative surplus populations and the crises of contemporary capitalism: reviving, revisiting, recastingLink opens in a new window', Geoforum 126: 412-419. [with Susanne Soederberg]
- (2021) '"Latent" surplus populations and colonial histories of drought, groundnuts, and finance in SenegalLink opens in a new window', Geoforum 126: 441-450.
- (2021) 'Child labour, cobalt and the London Metal Exchange: Fixing, fetish, and the limits of financializationLink opens in a new window', Economy and Society 50 (4): 542-564.
- (2021) 'Poverty finance and the durable contradictions of colonial capitalism: Placing 'financial inclusion' in the long run in GhanaLink opens in a new window', Geoforum 123: 89-98.
- (2020) ‘Centring labour in financializationLink opens in a new window’, Globalizations 17 (4): 714-729.
- (2019) 'Tracing mutations in neoliberal development governance: "Fintech", failure, and the politics of marketizationLink opens in a new window', Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 51 (7): 1442-1459.
- (2019) 'Understanding technological change in global finance through infrastructuresLink opens in a new window', Review of International Political Economy 26 (5): 773-789. [with Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn]
- (2019) 'The poverty of fintech? Psychometrics, credit infrastructures, and the limits of financializationLink opens in a new window', Review of International Political Economy 26 (5): 815-838.
* For a complete list of publications, see hereLink opens in a new window.
Recent blogs and commentary
- Ajay Banga and predatory financial inclusionLink opens in a new window - World Bank President
- Can green fintech build climate justice?Link opens in a new window - Global Policy [with Laura Quinteros]
- The Global Shield: Lights and Shadows of Insurance Schemes in the Fight Against Climate ChangeLink opens in a new window - Africa Policy Research Institute
- Climate change: Why a new insurance scheme for vulnerable countries is a bad ideaLink opens in a new window - The Conversation
- The finance gapLink opens in a new window - Phenomenal World
- For a critical history of poverty finance: Placing neoliberalism in colonial capitalismLink opens in a new window - Progress in Political Economy
- Where is credit due?Link opens in a new window - The Mint Magazine