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Queen's University

David A. McDonald

Professor and Director of Global Development Studies

David McDonald

Contact Information

Office: Mackintosh-Corry, Room E330
Phone: 613.533.6962
Fax: 613.533.2171

Mailing Address: Mac-Corry Hall, E 330
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 3N6

Department & Associations

Global Development Studies


Please direct inquiries to the contact information provided.

Academic Training

Ph.D. (Political Science), University of Toronto (1996)
M.A. (Development Studies), University of Toronto
H.B.A. (Business Administration), University of Western Ontario

General Academic & Research Interests

Professor and Head of the department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University, David McDonald has held a cross-appointment in the School of Environmental Studies since July 2006. Since his association with the School, David has provided thesis supervision at both the undergraduate and graduate level  (David Kay; Iffat Yesmin Mannan, ‘08; Colleen Sutton, '08).

David's research interests relate primarily to the delivery of basic services in the global South (such as water, electricity and health care), but encompass a broad spectrum of related questions around urbanization, environmental justice and uneven development. Much of this research has been conducted via the Municipal Services Project ( which he founded and has been co-director of since 2000. Theoretically, he is interested in competing conceptions of ‘public' and how they have changed and been transformed under neoliberalism. As a political economist his focus in on the financial, institutional and ideological elements that tie everyday service delivery to the larger currents of (re)production, but he is also interested in a wide range of geographical and socio-cultural concepts of space and place that make up the broader connectivities of public engagement, from gender relations to different notions of ‘value'. Regionally, the bulk of his work has been in Southern Africa but he has been directly involved in research in other parts of Africa and in Latin America, and now oversees research throughout the global South, and to some extent in Europe and North America. His research has had a largely urban focus, primarily on questions of service delivery but more broadly on questions of urbanization and the increasing connectivity of cities through so-called ‘world city networks'. The latter raise important questions about the changing nature of global capitalism and present challenging - and fruitful - questions about the nature of public services that are equitable, affordable and accessible to all.

Areas of Potential or Present Thesis/Project Supervision

Environmental theory; political ecology; environmental justice, public service delivery (water, electricity, waste management, health care), debates on privatization, urbanization and urban policy.

Link to David's profile:



For a list of selected publications by Dr. McDonald, go to

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