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New Approaches to Global Inequalities: Evaluating institutionalist comparative capitalisms perspectives on Latin America

Matthias Ebenau, School of Politics & IR
Primary Supervisor: Professor Ray Kiely

I completed my PhD at QMUL in early 2015. Since 2013, I am a Union Lecturer in Business and Political Economy at IG Metall’s (the German metal workers’ trade union) training centre in Beverungen-Drenke, where I am responsible for training shop stewards and other union activists. Previously, from 2010-13, I held a College Principal's Research Studentship. I have studied, researched and taught at different universities in Germany, the UK, and Argentina. My research interests lie in the broad fields of global and comparative political economy. A selection of my publications can be found here: http://igmetall.academia.edu/MatthiasEbenau.

My research is concerned with a critical evaluation of (neo-)institutionalist approaches – in particular the extended ‘varieties of capitalism’ framework and new, more state-centred institutionalist perspectives –  from the so-called comparative capitalisms (CC) literature with respect to their capacity of understanding and explaining the dogged persistence of global socio-economic inequalities. My empirical focus is on the Latin American region, even though the issues in question are of a more general relevance. For the evaluation of the approaches in question I use both quantitative-comparative and qualitative case study methods. To this end, during 2012-13, I carried out extensive research in Argentina, based at the Catholic University of Córdoba. Over the course of my work, I have found these CC perspectives on Latin America to be particularly problematic in terms of their non-problematisation of the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist mode of production and its systematic stratification on a global scale. In order to formulate an alternative and more convincing approach to understanding global inequalities, I draw on the critical-materialist tradition and in particular on Latin American dependency approaches which, in my view, hold great promise in an attempt to overcome the deficits of the currently dominant institutionalist frameworks. Closely related to my PhD work, I have been part of an international research project on the critical analysis of capitalist diversity (http://www.fb03.uni-frankfurt.de/43408101/cc).

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