Department of Global Development Studies


Global Development Studies

site header

Susanne Soederberg

Global Development Studies

D.Phil (Political Economy)
Universität Frankfurt, Germany

Phone:  613-533-6000, ext 78391
Fax: 613-533-2986

Mackintosh-Corry Hall A406
Global Development Studies
Queen's University
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

Office hours:
By Appointment

Research Interests
  • Global Political Economy
  • Urbanization & Displacements
  • Infrastructure
  • Global Finance and Debt
  • Global Governance
  • Business & Development

My research and teaching emphasis is on global political economy (GPE). As GPE is an interdisciplinary approach, I draw on Geography (Urban Studies), Politics (Comparative and International Relations), Sociology (Global Inequality), Gender Studies, and History to make sense of contemporary issues. In so doing, I have tried to debunk a commonly held belief that the economy 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), people (workers, including precarious labour), and money (especially in the form of debt and financial markets). 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 North America, Western Europe, Latin America and South East Asia.

My previous book, Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry: Money, Discipline and the Surplus Population (2014), interrogates 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.

I my latest book, Urban Displacements: Governing Surplus and Survival in Global Capitalism (2021), provides an empirically grounded analysis of rental housing insecurity in three urban geographies – Berlin, Dublin and Vienna – Debtfare and Displacement sharpens our understanding of the links between low-income rental tenure, neoliberal governance and financial capitalism. Homelessness has reached a crisis point in many European cities and is widely precipitated by the eviction of poor households from rental homes, due to insufficient or irregular income. This book argues that these trends are underpinned by the withdrawal of the state from social housing provisioning alongside the continued expansion of financial capitalism. Building from three signature case studies, the book demonstrates how cycles of overindebtedness, evictions and homelessness transform rental housing insecurity into entrenched urban poverty along class, gendered and racialized lines. In so doing, it provides a new analysis of how monetized power relations draw together landlords, creditors and the state to embed the urban poor more deeply within the financial logics of capitalism. As the book argues, both analytically and empirically, the outcome is the everyday facilitation and normalization of urban poverty and social marginalization.

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 230: The Global Political Economy of Development
DEVS 353: Business and Development
DEVS 492: Global Governance
DEVS 801: The Political Economy of Development
DEVS 869: Global Governance


Selected Publications

Single-Authored Books

Urban Displacements: Governing Surplus and Survival in Global Capitalism. London: Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy, 2021.

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

‘Placing Surplus Populations in Global Capitalism: Fluidity, Difference, and Governance,’ Geoforum (with Nicholas Bernards), in preparation.

‘The New Urban Displacement(s)? Housing Dynamics under Financial and Austerity Urbanism, ‘Urban Geography (with Alan Walks), in preparation.

‘Governing Urban Inequalities and Injustices,’ Geoforum (with Alan Walks), Vol. 89, 2018.

‘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

‘Urban Displacements: Governing Surplus and Survival in Global Capitalism,’ Journal of Australian Political Economy.  In press.

‘The Humanitarian-Development Nexus: Tensions and Trajectories in Global Capitalism,’ Austrian Journal of Development Studies. Invited contribution to a Special Issue on Global Development Finance (with Lama Tawakkol, 50% contribution). In press.

‘Global Risk Management and the Davos Consensus: Redesigning the Business of Development,’ Review of International Political Economy (with Sarah Sharma, 50% contribution), Vol. 27(4), 2019, pp. 828-854.

‘Placing Refugees in Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Reflections from Berlin and Paris, ’ South Atlantic Quarterly, (with Ali Bhagat, 50% contribution), Vol. 18(2), 2019, pp. 421-438.

‘Governing Global Displacements in Austerity Urbanism: The Case of Berlin’s Refugee Crisis,’ Development & Change. Vol. 50(4), 2018, pp. 923-947.

Translated into Italian in Romina Fucà (ed) Schengen e il cross-border nell'Unione Europea: Sistemi territoriali e di sicurezza. 2019. Rome: NdR Note di Redazione.

‘Evictions: A Capitalist and Global Phenomena.’ Invited by the Editors to participate on a Forum on ‘Financialisation, Rentier Capitalism and Development’, Development & Change, Vol. 49(2), 2018, pp. 286-301.

‘Producing and Governing Urban Inequalities and Injustices under Planetary Urbanization?’ (with Alan Walks, 50% contribution) Geoforum, Vol. 89(1), 2018, pp. 107-113.

‘The Rental Housing Question: Exploitation, Evictions, and Erasures.’  Geoforum, Vol. 89(1), 2018, pp. 114-123.

‘The Myth of Universal Access to Housing: Interrogating an Elusive Development Goal.’ Globalizations, Vol. 14(3), 2016, pp. 343-359.

‘Governing Stigmatised Spaces: Making Slums in Berlin-Neukölln.’ New Political Economy. Vol. 22(5), 2016, pp. 478-495.

 ‘Debtfarism and the Violence of Financial Inclusion: The Case of Payday Lending Industry,’ (with my PhD student, Jesse Hembruff, 50% contribution). Forum for Social Economics, Vol. 48(1), 2015, pp. 49-68.  Winner of the Patrick J. Welch Award for best paper. 

‘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 IndustryUrban Displacements Book Cover


Corporate Power and Ownership in Contemporary CapitalismGlobal Governance in QuestionThe Politics of the New International Financial Architecture