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Kristin Ciupa

 Kristin Ciupa

Kristin Ciupa, PhD Candidate, School of Politics & IR

Primary Supervisor: Dr Jeff Webber

Research topic: The Struggle Continues: Oil, Class Conflict and the State in Venezuela from 1999 to 2016

Primary supervisor: Dr Jeffery Webber


Research Interests:

Latin American Political Economy, Oil Development, International Political Economy, Neoliberalism and Post-Neoliberalism, International Law, Human Rights, Indigenous Issues

Research Projects:

I am currently working on two research projects. The first, which is the subject of my PhD thesis, explores the trajectory of the elected left in Venezuela, analyzing how the Bolivarian government’s project of socialist transformation has been driven, and limited, by widespread popular resistance to the neoliberal model, and by the country’s oil dependent economy. It utilizes a scalar approach, exploring how relations and structures in the global oil market, Latin American regional politics, the Venezuelan state, and civil society have shaped the Bolivarian government’s initial prosperity and eventual decline. Integrating theories of the political economy of oil, rentier capitalism, uneven and combined development, the capitalist and landlord state, and social movements, this research traces how the historical development of the oil sector in Venezuela has shaped the trajectory of the economy, state formation and social relations around oil extraction. This historical analysis is combined with interviews with government officials, oil economists, activists and academics in Caracas, Venezuela, as well as extensive archival research, to understand how class conflict and the Bolivarian government have impacted oil development in the 1999 to 2016 period. This research argues although widespread popular resistance to neoliberal reform in Venezuela served to radicalize the government’s Bolivarian project, the government’s reproduction of oil export and rentier capitalism limited the scope of transformation.

My second research project is a critical study of UN indigenous rights instruments and their application in indigenous communities. It analyzes how relations between the United Nations, states in the Global South and Global North, transnational corporations, indigenous communities, activists and NGOs have shaped the content, interpretation, and application of international indigenous rights to indigenous people. This research situates the proliferation of international indigenous rights instruments within a process of juridification that has taken place in the neoliberal era. By demonstrating how rights instruments have been interpreted in ways that are compatible with the neoliberal paradigm, it illustrates the limitations of rights as an emancipatory tool for indigenous people.


Ciupa, K. (Spring 2017). Challenging the Dominance of Foreign Capital requires far Stronger Regional Integration in Jacobin.

Ciupa, K. (2017). The Promise of Rights: International Indigenous Rights in the Neoliberal Era in Neoliberal Legality: Understanding the Role of Law in the Neoliberal Project, Honor Brabazon, Ed, Routledge.

Raddon, Mary-Beth and Ciupa, Kristin. (2011). “How to Write Your Will in an Age of Risk: The institutionalization of individualism in estate planning in English Canada” Current Sociology 59.6: 771-786.


  • PhD Political Science, 2017, QMUL
  • MA Sociology, 2011, York University, Canada
  • Called to the Bar of Ontario, 2009
  • JD, 2008, University of Windsor, Canada
  • BA Sociology, 2005, Brock University, Canada


My MA and PhD research have been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Work Experience:

I have teaching experience as a lecturer in Latin American politics and as a teaching assistant in courses focusing on classical and contemporary social theory.  I have worked as a research assistant on projects pertaining to estate planning and risk society, and Aboriginal sentencing in Canada.

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