Esther Kronbein


University of Kassel (UKS, Germany)

Research Cluster


PhD Project Title

Globalisation and Solidarity: Transformations in the everyday economy of Busoga/ Uganda


This doctoral dissertation project traces the effects of global capitalism on the local economy of the rural Busoga region in Uganda, with special focus on alternative economic practices. The keyword ‘solidarity’ refers to the concept Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). Economic activities that can be summarised under this term are examined, taking into consideration whether they have any potential for offering alternatives to existing concepts of capitalist development. This study is supposed to make a contribution to critical development studies and postcolonial critique of Western domination in terms of epistemology. The theoretical framework of this doctoral dissertation is interdisciplinary, encompassing postcolonial theory, the Post-Development approach, and world-systems analysis. Economies of global South countries are seldomly researched on a micro level and without the aim to ‘improve’ their level of Western-style ‘development’. In contrast to that, this study is informed by a genuine interest in the perspective of the people concerned and the way globalisation shapes their daily economic activities.

The main research activity of this study involves conducting problem-centred interviews, a semi-structured form of qualitative interviews. These are divided into 30 ‘main interviews’ with representatives of the general public living in the Busoga region of Uganda and ten so-called ‘expert interviews.’ The latter were conducted with Ugandan academics, government representatives, and politicians from Busoga. The latter are regarded as experts because their position provides them access to information that the respondents of the ‘main interviews’ do not have. Consequently, they are able to deliver valuable contextual information for the analysis of the ‘main interviews.’ Further contextual information is collected through the analysis of various kinds of documents. This study follows a postcolonial approach to research methodology. Principally, this means acting with a high degree of self-reflexivity (e.g., in terms of positionality, power constellations, privileges), transparency, cultural sensitivity, and respect for the priorities of the researched. The researcher has to make an effort to realise empowerment and reciprocity for the researched wherever possible – while being honest about the insurmountable limitations of such endeavours (power constellations inherent in the research situation and in global politico-economic structures).

The observations shared by study respondents provide valuable insights into their survival strategies and their agency in view of globalisation invading their everyday lives. This includes individual as well as collective strategies. The latter encompass activities of the Social and Solidarity Economy, such as cooperatives, savings and credit associations, burial societies, and others. The study explores the potential of those activities with regard to, on the one hand, helping their members to survive (better) and, on the other hand, being alternatives to capitalist development in the narrow sense. The question of weighing up feasibility against radicality of alternatives plays an important role in the discussion.

Educational Background

Professional Experience


  • 04/2017 – 03/2020: Doctoral scholarship by the University of Kassel