The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Mark Langan

Senior Lecturer in International Politics



MA 1st Class Joint Honours History and Politics, University of Glasgow (Scottish undergraduate MA) - awarded 2004

MA Development Studies (with Research Training), University of Manchester - awarded 2006

PhD International Political Economy, University of Manchester - awarded 2010

External Roles

External Examiner for MA International Relations, Oxford Brookes (ongoing)

External Examiner for MA International Relations: Global Security and Development, Plymouth University (ongoing)

External Examiner for BA Politics, Nottingham Trent University (September 2017 onwards)


Research Outline

My research examines the 'pro-poor' impact of trade and development ties between countries of the Global North and Global South.

In particular, I am interested in European (including UK) trade and aid linkages with states in sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa).

As part of this agenda, I regularly utilise a 'moral economy' framework in the study of donor contributions to poverty reduction in the post-Washington Consensus. This includes

  • Examination of donor initiatives vis-à-vis Aid for Trade
  • Private sector development
  • Ethical trade
  • Decent Work
  • Budget support arrangements

The moral economy framework enables critical engagement with donor 'development' discourse in terms of policy legitimacy and ideational power. Moreover, the moral economy lens facilitates examination of the material impact of aid and trade policies for ostensible beneficiaries in developing countries.

I am also very interested in critical debates concerning statehood, sovereignty and imperialism/liberation nationalism in the context of North-South relations (for instance, in terms of Kwame Nkrumah and the concept of 'neo-colonialism').

Current research

I was recently awarded a British Academy small grant to examine the food security implications of the EU's Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with West African countries. This will focus upon business stakeholder experiences in the tomato and poultry sectors in Ghana. The project commenced in January 2017 and will be completed by the end of March 2018. This complements my recent field engagement with cocoa agro-processing stakeholders in Ghana and Nigeria to examine the impact of EU Aid for Trade policies.

I am currently researching the intellectual legacy of Kwame Nkrumah in terms of his writings on 'neo-colonialism' and pan-Africanism. This relates to my forthcoming monograph with Palgrave entitled "Neo-colonialism and the poverty of 'development' in Africa".

I am also now exploring the impact of BREXIT upon Anglophone African countries' trade, which is disproportionately dependent upon export of primary commodities to the British market. This includes broader examination of the impact of BREXIT upon EU-ACP relations in terms of overarching aid and development goals.

Recent activities

I recently presented a report on private sector development (PSD) in developing countries to a workshop held in the European Parliament, organised by the Vice-Chair of the EP Development Committee. My findings have been cited by Members of the Development Committee in their finalisation of an official Committee report on PSD.

I have recently completed a monograph on neo-colonialism for Palgrave and edited a special issue on EU-Africa ties (Third World Thematics)


I am keen to supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in:

  • The political economy of trade and development
  • Private sector development and Aid for Trade agendas
  • Decent work and ethical trade initiatives
  • Moral political economy
  • Theories of African statehood (for instance, in terms of governance states)


POL1032 Introduction to International Politics
POL8043 Globalization, Poverty and Development