Lecturer in International Development, Department of Politics
Phil Roberts completed his PhD in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, and he also holds an MA in International Relations from the University of Nottingham. Phil's doctoral thesis examined the politics of the Landless Workers Movement of Brazil during the transition from neoliberalism to neodevelopmentalism, exploring how critical education and agroecological farming had become key sites of struggle. His thesis combined a Gramscian analysis of state-civil society relationships with spatial political economy informed by Henri Lefebvre and Neil Smith, and included semi-structured interviews and participant observation within the Landless Workers Movement.
Phil's research centres on the political economy of development, with a particular focus on Marxian analysis and heterodox economic theories. He has conducted field research in Brazil, India, and Ghana, and is interested in using ethnographic methods to address political economy questions. He is especially interested in understanding how social movements theorize their own political activity, and how this theoretical production is sometimes obscured within academic debates over development. Phil's broader research interests involve the political economy of global food production, and particularly the financialization of food systems in 'rising powers.' On a theoretical level, Phil is interested in the variegated strands of economic thought on development. This encompasses the ingress of Behavioural Economics into international development practice, and the emergence of new development economics frameworks to account for the experience of 'rising powers' economies, such as New Developmentalism from Brazil, and New Structural Economics from China.