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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:
Monday 12-1pm; Thursday 3-4pm

Term 2: Monday 2-3pm, Wednesday 11-12pm

Term 3: 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. I have published on the development of new forms of financial products targeting precarious or informal workers, including microinsurance and 'alternative' forms of credit data. I am also beginning research on the ways in which financial markets in the global south have been shaped by longer colonial histories, and how this has impacted on the uneven development of contemporary finance.

I am also currently director of the Africa Research Network at Warwick.


2019-20 Module Leadership:

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

Term 2: GD 310 World of Work

2019-20 Module Contributions:

GD 106 Social Principles of Global Sustainable Development

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.

Edited Collection:

(2019) 'The Changing Technological Infrastructures of Global Finance', special issue of Review of International Political Economy, 26 (5). [co-edited with Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn]

Journal Articles:

(In press) ‘Centring Labour in Financialization’, Globalizations.

(In press) '"Latent" Surplus Populations and Colonial Histories of Drought, Groundnuts, and Finance in Senegal', Geoforum.

(2019) 'Tracing Mutations in Neoliberal Development Governance: "Fintech", Failure, and the Politics of Marketization', Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 51 (7): 1442-1459.

(2019) 'Understanding Technological Change in Global Finance Through Infrastructures', 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 Financialization', Review of International Political Economy 26 (5): 815-838.

(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.

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