Sabrina Keller - dissertation project

Debt Relief!? An analysis of international protests and reforms of the international debt regime from postcolonial-global economic-governance perspective

During the OAS summit 1987 in Addis Ababa Thomas Sankara already stated that debts have their origin in colonialism, that they are a means of recolonisation and that they cannot be paid off.

30 years later it is still evident that the dependence between creditor and debtor is playing it srole when looking at processes of undermining democratic structures and pushing through neoliberal reforms for privatisations and deregulations of all sorts. In these situations debtors are often described as deviating from own norms and are rhetorically devalued in order to justify the imposition of conditionalities.

Following years of protests conducted by numerous groups and movements on national as well as international arenas, eventually the so called HIPC-initiative for debt relief of highly indebted poor countries is on the way since the beginning of this millennium but it fell well short of activists expectations.

So far especially their connections with structural adjustment programs and poverty reduction strategy papers have been examined. Building on these prior works this study is determined to analyse how far existing structures and processes of international organisations such as the World Bank Group have been influenced by or have shaped these protests.

The study is thus located at the intersection of Global Economic Governance research, postcolonial studies and research on protests and social movements. The dissertation project aims to scientifically contribute to global practices related to the conception and implementation of debt release initiatives. The critical analysis focuses on forms of articulations and representations in a neoliberal world and aims to contribute to a decolonization of global structures and processes.