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Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies- Global Studies

First Advisor

Garth Myers

Second Advisor

Janet Bauer


The sustainable development challenge is today one of the most pressing global issues, especially since it has begun to call not only for solutions to environmental degradation, but also to growing levels of poverty and social injustice. Neoliberalism has been promoted by powerful actors as the ultimate key to fighting these issues: according to neoliberals, deregulating the market, liberalizing trade and minimizing the role of the government would stimulate economic growth which in turn would be used to eradicate poverty and develop new, less harmful ways of using our earth’s resources. Yet, after decades of having adopted neoliberal policies, the sustainable challenge still stands strong and inequality and environmental degradation have even seemed to worsen in some parts of the world. In this research project, I thus attempt to understand what neoliberal policies concretely look like, how they have been implemented and what outcomes have emerged from their application. Using the political ecology framework, I first explore the impact of neoliberalism on rural areas and local populations of the Global South. I then turn to cities of developing nations using the urban political ecology framework to assess how their built environment and inhabitants have been affected by this ideology. While the results differed from one place to another, I found that overall, in both rural and urban areas, neoliberalism constituted a threat to both the livelihood of the people concerned by the new policies and their environment.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Access is restricted to the campus community.