Department of International Relations

photo of Benjamin Selwyn

Prof Benjamin Selwyn

Post:Professor of International Relations and International Development (International Relations, School of Global Studies, International Development)
Location:ARTS C C325

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 678191
International:+44 1273 678191

Research expertise:
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I joined the IR department in 2009 after teaching at the University of Southampton (2006-2008) and the LSE (2004-2006). 

My research and teaching lies at the intersection of (International) Political Economy and Development Sociology.


I am interested in the class-relational analysis of the following dynamics of development: History of global capitalism, political economy of Latin America, global value chains, states and late capitalist develpoment, development theories, gender and development, the agrarian question, social movements and labour, poverty and wealth analysis, post-neoliberalism, alternatives to capitalism.

I am particularly interested in the formation, functioning and transformation of global value chains and their impacts on, and emergence out of, historical and contemporary processes of global development.

I am the author of 'Workers, State and Development in Brazil: Powers of Labour, Chains of Value' (Manchester University Press: 2012). The book investigates how the Brazilian state, local public and private institutions and firms collaborated to implement a successful upgrading strategy within highly competitive global horticultural value chains, which resulted in North East Brazil becoming Brazil's main high-value grape exporting region. Within that context I investigated the extent to which workers benefitted from the region's rapid economic growth. The book details how the export boom has impacted on local level develoment, in particular on local labour standards, conditions of work and pay rates, gendering of work and women's participation in rural trade unions.

My second boook, 'The Global Development Crisis' (Polity: 2014) addresses the central paradox of our times - the simultaneous presence of wealth on an unprecedented scale, and mass poverty. It explores this paradox through an interrogation of the work of some of the most important political economists of the last two centuries - Friedrich List, Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Schumpeter, Alexander Gerschenkron, Karl Polanyi and Amartya Sen.

My latest book, The Struggle for Development, critiques the World Bank's dollar-a-day poverty methodology and shows how capitalism generates various new forms of poverty. Beyond critique the book also introduces and gives numerous examples of labour-led development, and argues for a post-capitalist development strategy.

PhD students who are interested in any of the above subjects are very welcome to contacat me to disucss potential supervision!