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Dr Nicholas Bernards

Dr Nicholas Bernards
Contact details
Tel.: +44(0) 24765 28445
Room: R3.19 Ramphal Building

Office Hours:
Term 1:
Wed, 1-2pm; Thu, 11am-12pm, or by appointment

Term 2: Mon, 2-3pm; Thursday 11am-12pm, or by appointment


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.


My recent 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. The project draws on archival research conducted primarily at ILO headquarters in Geneva, extensive documentary research, as well as interviews with key ILO staff across these issue areas in Geneva and at field offices in Pretoria and Dakar.

My current research looks at the intersections of global financial markets with changing patterns of work and social protection, primarily in the global south. This project has three main components. First, I am researching the impacts of changing patterns of global credit and commodity markets on the organization of work in extractive industries in Southern Africa. Second, I am interested in the development of new forms of financial products targeting precarious or informal workers in the global south, including microinsurance and 'alternative' forms of credit data. Third, I am researching the role of credit relations in shaping colonial economies in sub-Saharan Africa and the ways in which these interactions continue to shape the geographies of global finance.


2018-2019 Module Leadership:

Term 1: GD 309 Debt, Money, and Global Sustainable Development

Term 2: GD 310 World of Work

2018-2019 Module Contributions:

GD 107 GSD Mini-Project

GD 307 Dissertation/Long Project

Selected Publications


(2018) The Global Governance of Precarity: Primitive Accumulation and the Politics of Irregular Work, Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy.

Journal Articles:

(In Press) 'The Poverty of Fintech? Psychometrics, Credit Infrastructures, and the Limits of Financialization', Review of International Political Economy.

(2018) 'The Truncated Commercialization of Microinsurance and the Limits of Neoliberalism', Development and Change, 49 (6): 1447-1470.

(2017) 'The Global Politics of Forced Labour', Globalizations 14 (6): 944-957.

(2017) 'The ILO and African Trade Unions: Tripartite Fantasies and Enduring Struggles', Review of African Political Economy 44 (153): 399-414.

(2016) 'The International Labour Organization and the Ambivalent Politics of Financial Inclusion in West Africa', New Political Economy 21 (6): 606-621.