Dr Samuel Appleton
My research is situated in the field of global political economy, with particular focus on the role of the international financial institutions in global governance. I am interested in the relationship between these organisations, financiers, and member states – and the dynamic processes of negotiation among these groups through which hegemonic agendas are developed and realised.
My doctoral thesis explored the foundational importance of private American finance for the Bretton Woods order. Exploring four critical moments in the history and pre-history of the World Bank from the 1930s to the 1980s, the study traces the development of a proprietary terrain at the interstices of US financial and state power in which the agency of Bank management became decisive in the construction of key tools and practices of global governance. By illustrating how managerial agency emerges within this framework of social relations, the thesis uncovers the importance of the social anchoring of the Bank in mediating American hegemonic agendas and opens a path for re-conceptualising the role of the World Bank in the construction of American hegemony.
Building on this, my current research continues to explore the importance of the Bank’s material basis in private finance for its development lending strategies - particularly those associated with the so-called 'Washington consensus' and emergent successors, and in relation to emergent challengers in the form of the BRICS Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. I am interested in the managerial technologies of the institution's governance - and their key role in the Bank's emergence as a central institution of 'neoliberal' governance. This may help to illuminate the relationship between the Bank and its borrowers, with particular reference to the Bank's role in transitions to neoliberalism in the global South, as it becomes increasingly embedded in the everyday life of the societies it aims to support, create, and police.
University of Bristol positions
LecturerSchool of Sociology, Politics and International Studies