Department of Global Development Studies


Global Development Studies

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Susanne Soederberg

Susanne Soederberg

Professor and Canada Research Chair, Global Development Studies

D.Phil (Political Economy) Universität Frankfurt, Germany

Curriculum Vitae (PDF 265KB)


phone: 613-533-6000, ext 78391 

fax: 613-533-2986

Global Development Studies

Mac-Corry Hall A406

Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM


Research Interests:

  • Global Political Economy
  • Global Finance and Debt
  • Global Development
  • Global Governance
  • Rental Housing and Finance

My research and teaching emphasis is on global political economy, with special reference to the role played by politics and power of finance. In my published work I have tried to debunk a commonly held belief that finance is a technical issue best left to those with expert knowledge, i.e., economists. One way I achieve this objective is by exploring - both theoretically and empirically - the role of, and intersections between, states (regulation, laws, policies) and money (especially credit-money). This allows me to interrogate questions of power (e.g., who the power, why the power, and with which consequences the power) as I investigate a range of topics such as: development finance, poverty, neoliberalism, debt (both consumer and sovereign), corporate governance, and global governance across a variety of geographies spanning the North America, Western Europe, Latin America and South East Asia.

My recent book, Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry: Money, Discipline and the Surplus Population (2014), interrogates critically the social power of money and new forms of neoliberal (market-led) governance such as debtfarism. The latter involves rhetorical and regulatory (bankruptcy laws, usury laws, and consumer protection laws) interventions by states to facilitate the growing dependence of the poor on expensive credit to meet basic survival needs. In many ways, debtfarism has become a significant component of neoliberal (market-led) forms of governance in contemporary capitalism. I demonstrate this position by exploring several case studies ranging from credit cards to payday lending and the student loan industry in the United States to micro-lending techniques and low-income mortgages in Mexico.

My next five-year project – Placing Dispossession – strives to understand the connections between low-income rental housing, social reproduction and global finance. In so doing, I am interested in exploring the gendered, racial and class dimensions of the governance of access to housing microfinance in informal settlements in Manila and Mexico City as well as the politics of evictions in the rental-housing sector in Dublin, Berlin, and Toronto.

Supervisory interests

I particularly welcome applications from graduate students, who are interested in conducting research in political economy approaches to various aspects of low-income housing and finance in either the global North or global South. More generally, I am happy to supervise graduate students, who are interested in conducting research on various topics listed above. Since I hold two cross appointments, I am able to supervise PhD and MA students in the Department of Political Studies and the Department of Sociology.

Other Appointments:

Cross Appointed
Department of Political Studies
Department of Sociology


DEVS 492/DEVS 8: Debt and Dispossession (fall term)
DEVS 824/POLS 864: Power and Politics of Finance (fall term)
DEVS 392: Business & Development (winter term)

Selected Publications:

Single-Authored Books

Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry:  Money, Discipline and the Surplus Population. London: Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy, 2014. URL:

*Winner of the 2015 IPEG (International Political Economy Working Group) of the British International Studies Association book award.

Corporate Power and Ownership in Contemporary Capitalism: The Politics of Resistance and Domination. London:  Routledge/ RIPE Series in Global Political Economy, 2010. URL:

*Winner of the 2010 Rik Davidson/Studies in Political Economy book prize.

Global Governance in Question: Empire, Class, and the New Common Sense in Managing North-South Relations.  London:  Pluto Books and Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006.

The Politics of the New International Financial Architecture: Reimposing Neoliberal Domination in the Global South.  London:  Zed Books / New York:  Palgrave, 2004.

Editor of Special Issues in Scholarly Journals

‘Governing Urban Inequalities and Injustices,’ Geoforum (with Alan Walks), in preparation.

‘Risking Capitalism,’ Research in Political Economy, Vol. 31, 2016.

'The Politics of Debt and Discipline: Law, Money and the State ' Critical Sociology (with Adrienne Roberts) Vol. 40(5), 2014.

'Repoliticizing Debt' Third World Quarterly (with Gavin Fridell), Vol. 34(4), 2013.

‘Deconstructing Financial Fetishism: Debt, Fictitious Capital, and Risk’ Cultural Critique (with Karyn Ball), Vol. 65(2), 2007.

Governing the New International Financial Architecture,' Global Governance, Vol. 7(4), 2001. 

Scholarly Journal Articles

 ‘The Myth of Universal Access to Housing: Interrogating an Elusive Development Goal.’ Globalizations, 2016: DOI:

‘Governing Stigmatised Spaces: Making Slums in Berlin-Neukölln.’ New Political Economy, 2016: DOI:

‘Debtfarism and the Violence of Financial Inclusion: The Case of Payday Lending Industry,’ with Jesse Hembruff (50% contribution) Forum for Social Economics. (Special Issue on Microcredit), 2015, DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2015.1056205.

‘Subprime Housing goes South: Constructing Securitized Mortgages for the Poor in Mexico,’ Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Vol. 47(2), 2015, pp. 481-499.

‘Politicizing Debt and Denaturalizing the “New Normal” (with Adrienne Roberts, 50% contribution), Critical Sociology, Vol. 40(5), 2014, pp. 657-668.

‘Student Loans and the Commodification of Debt: The Politics of Debtfare, Securitization and the Displacement of Risk,’ Critical Sociology, Vol. 40(5), 2014, pp. 689-709.

‘The Politics of Debt and Development in the New Millennium,’ Third World Quarterly, Vol. 34(4), 2013, pp. 539-550.

‘Universalizing Financial Inclusion and the Securitization of Development,’ Third World Quarterly, Vol. 34(4), 2013, pp. 597-616.

'The US Debtfare State and the Credit Card Industry: Forging Spaces of Dispossession,' Antipode, Vol. 45(2), 2013, pp. 493-512. 

'The Mexican Debtfare State: Micro-Lending, Dispossession, and the Surplus Population,' Special Issue: 'The Rebound of the Capitalist State: The re-articulation of state capital relations in the global crisis,' Globalizations, Vol. 9 (4), 2012, pp. 561-575.

‘Cannibalistic Capitalism:  The Paradoxes of Neoliberal Pension Securitization,' Leo Panitch, Greg Albo, Vivek Chibber (eds) Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis this Time, London: Merlin Press, 2010, pp. 224-241.

The Marketization of Social Justice:  The Case of the Sudan Divestment Campaign,' New Political Economy, Vol. 14 (4), 2009, pp. 211-230.

Deconstructing the Official Treatment for 'Enronitis':  The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Neoliberal Governance of Corporate America? Critical Sociology, Vol. 34 (5), 2008, pp. 657-680.

The Transnational Debt Architecture and Emerging Markets:  Politics of Paradoxes and Punishment,' Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26 (6), 2005, pp. 927-950.

A Historical Materialist Account of the Chilean Capital Control: Prototype Policy for Whom?' Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 9 (3), 2002, pp. 490-512


Debtfare States and the Poverty IndustryCorporate Power and Ownership in Contemporary CapitalismThe Politics of the New International Financial ArchitectureGlobal Governance in Question