Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Studies

Committee Director

Simon Serfaty

Committee Member

Xiushi Yang

Committee Member

Trisha Bezmen


Globalization has of late become the lingua franca of the study of the international political economic system. As its ideological counterpart, globalization has elevated neoliberalism to the status of an international theology. To harness the benefits of a globalizing world economy, conventional wisdom consider the dictums underlying neoliberal policies as “immutable laws” that must be adopted by both the developing and the developed world.

Utilizing a structured, focused analysis based on a case study of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), this research challenges the orthodox notion that the new international context of development that is instigated by the imperatives of globalization, and is defined by the ideological framework of neoliberalism has universal, redemptive effects.

First, the literature is reviewed to show that this new context of development differs, ideologically, from the post-World War II development paradigms. Second, the demands of the new development framework are exposed with the examination of the links between globalization and neoliberalism. Third, with specific examples from different countries within the sub-region, the path, and the psychological processes through which SSA was (is) conditioned to the political economy of globalization are identified.

Then, on the basis of a specified theoretical model, the study examines whether SSA has been attaining the benefits presumed to be associated with subscription to the neoliberal policy demands of the new global market discipline. As a litmus test of competing interpretative accounts, our theoretical function reveals that globalization and its associated neoliberal policy framework, in the context of SSA, precipitate a peculiar paradoxical relationship of incorporation and marginalization.

The adoption and implementation of neoliberal policies concurrently incorporate and marginalize SSA within the emerging political economy of globalization. The policy implications of this paradox are examined in the wider context of development and poverty alleviation concerns of the sub-region.