Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Dr Jörg Wiegratz

Lecturer in Political Economy of Global Development

I work on the political economy and moral economy of neoliberalism in Africa and elsewhere, with a particular focus on the topics of moral restructuring and economic fraud. I am a member of the editorial working group of the Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE); here, I coordinate the projects on Economic trickery, fraud and crime in Africa, and Capitalism in Africa.

I joined POLIS in August 2012. Previously, I taught at the Universities of Bath and Sheffield. At POLIS, my roles include module leader for ‘Making of the Modern World’ (level one), ‘North-South Linkages’ (level two), 'Global inequalities and development' (level four), MA Programme Director for Global Development, and White Rose Doctoral Training Centre - International Development Pathway Leader for Leeds.

From 2004 to 2007, I worked as a researcher and consultant in Uganda, for the UN Industrial Development Organization, the Government of Uganda’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation. I have also been a Resource Person at Makerere University and a Visiting Scholar at the Economic Policy Research Centre, Kampala.

From the mid-1990s onwards, I worked for a few years in journalism too, for German Press Agency, North German Broadcasting, and Schweriner Volkszeitung.

I hold a PhD in Politics (Sheffield), a MA in International Political Economy (Warwick), and a MA in Economics (Cologne). I have studied as well at Indiana University (Bloomington) and the University of Münster.

Research Interests

To-date, my research has explored aspects of neoliberalism especially neoliberal moral economy and moral restructuring, market society, economic fraud, cultural political economy, everyday IPE, global value chains, industrial development, human resource development and African development, predominantly with an empirical  focus on Uganda. 

In recent years, I have been particularly interested in studying processes related to the emergence and consolidation of neoliberal market societies in the various parts of the world, especially (but not only) in Africa.

I research neoliberalism as a political-economic and cultural programme of restructuring norms, values, orientations, and practices with special emphasis on the dynamics of moral restructuring. My specific focus is on the changing moral economies of earning a living, fraud, power and poverty. I study how aspects of political economy and moral economy are intertwined and interact and thus constitute political moral economies.

Since 1999, I have received funding and other support from various organisations for the purpose of study, research and publication.

The organisations include the following ...

  • British Academy/Leverhulme Trust (Small Research Grant)
  • Sir Ernest Cassel Educational Trust Fund
  • University of Leeds (POLIS Strategic Research Investment Fund, ESSL Summer Research Internships Scheme)
  • The British International Studies Association (conference bursary)
  • Makerere University (I@MAK project, book publication)
  • University of Sheffield (PhD studentship)
  • Government of Uganda/European Union (Uganda Programme for Trade Opportunities and Policy, research)
  • German National Recruitment Office - Bureau International Organisations’ Personnel (UNIDO internship)
  • Foundation of German Business (undergraduate and postgraduate study)
  • Grammar School and Foundation Fund Cologne (postgraduate study)
  • University of Cologne (visiting student at Indiana University)


I teach on the following modules.

  • Making of the Modern World
  • North South Linkages
  • Global Inequalities and Development
  • Africa in the Contemporary World
  • Contemporary Development Issues
  • State and Politics in Africa

PhD Supervision

I welcome applications in any area related to my research themes.

I currently supervise PhD research into electoral corruption in Nigeria, poverty in Nigeria, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and NGO-state relationships in Vietnam.

Key Publications

Book sections
  • Whyte, D. and Wiegratz, J., 2016. Neo-liberalism, Moral economy and Fraud; The Moral Economy of Neoliberal Fraud., In: Idem, eds., Neoliberalism and the moral economy of fraud, London: Routledge (2016).
  • Wiegratz, J., 2015. The New Normal: Moral Economies in the 'Age of Fraud'. In: Whyte, D., ed. How Corrupt is Britain?, London: Pluto
  • Wiegratz, J., 2014. Uganda - Economy. In: Africa South of the Sahara 2015, London: Routledge
  • Wiegratz, J., 2012. The neoliberal harvest: the proliferation and normalisation of economic fraud in a market society. In: Winlow, S. and Atkinson, R., eds. New directions in crime and deviancy, London: Routledge.
Journal articles
Book reviews
Research reports
  • Wiegratz, J., Nyabuntu, P. and Omagor, C., 2007. Case studies of lead firm governance systems in the context of commercialization of smallholder agriculture in Uganda. Research Report. Kampala: Uganda Programme for Trade Opportunities and Policy (UPTOP).
  • Wiegratz, J., Nyabuntu, P. and Omagor, C., 2007. Competing and Learning in Global Value Chains - Firms’ Experiences in the Case of Uganda. A study of five export sub-sectors with reference to trade between Uganda and Europe. Research Report. Kampala: Uganda Programme for Trade Opportunities and Policy (UPTOP).
  • Wiegratz, J., 2006. Capabilities for catching-up: Economic development and competitiveness in Uganda: Implications for Human Resource Development with particular focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Uganda. Research Report. Kampala: GTZ PEVOT Programme for the Promotion of Employment Oriented Vocational and Technical Training.
Publications, contributed:
  • UNIDO, 2007. Uganda - Integrated Industrial Policy for Sustainable Industrial Development and Competitiveness. Report. UNIDO: Vienna.
  • UNIDO, 2005. Inserting Local Industries into Global Value Chains and Production Networks: What Opportunities and Challenges for Upgrading?. Working Paper. UNIDO: Vienna.
PhD thesis
  • Wiegratz, J., 2011. The cultural political economy of neoliberal moral restructuring: the case of agricultural trade in Uganda. Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Sheffield.
Opinion pieces
Conference presentations (since 2012)
  • 'Political-economic drivers of moral economies of fraud - the case of neoliberal Uganda', EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists), 20-23.7.2016, Milan
  • 'The State and the Neoliberalisation of Moral Economy: The Case of Agricultural Produce Trade in Uganda', SASE (Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics), 24-26.6.2016, Berkeley
  • 'Anti-fraud initiatives in neoliberal Uganda: a political economy analysis’, ECAS 2015, 08-10.07.2015, Paris.
  • ‘'I am doing god's work': Towards a political moral economy of capitalism’, New directions in International Political Economy, University of Warwick, 13-15.05.2015.
  • ‘The politics of advanced neoliberalism: the case of populism’, The International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE), Fifth Annual Conference, University of Naples L'Orientale, 16.-18.09.2014
  • ‘Neoliberal Populism as The New Normal? The Case of Uganda’ (with Rose Nakayi ) & ‘Anti-Fraud Measures in Neoliberal Africa’, African Studies Association of the UK, Biennial Conference, 09.-11.09.2014, University of Sussex
  • ‘Follow the norm: the routinisation of fraud and harm in market societies’, 2014 Deviancy Conference, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, 25.-26.06.2013
  • ‘The moral economies of neoliberalism: the case of corporate fraud’, IIPPE, Fourth Annual Conference, International Institute for Social Studies, The Hague, 09.-11.07.2013
  • ‘From fake to civic capitalism? The neoliberalisation of moral economies and the crisis’, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), Second Annual Conference, 01.-03.07.2013
  • ‘Moral economies of neoliberalism in Africa: the case of economic fraud’, 5th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), University Institute of Lisbon, 27.-9.06.2013
  • ‘De-neoliberalising the economy?’, How Corrupt is Britain? conference, University of Liverpool, 10.05.2013
Other selected presentations (since 2012)
  • Locked-in culture? The challenge of de-neoliberalising ‘the social’, Inclusive Societies Annual Meeting, University of Sheffield, 06-07.07.2015
  • Follow the norm: The routinisation of fraud in neoliberal market societies’, International Research Seminars in Sociology, Fall 2014 (Neoliberalism, power, and critical sociology) & ‘The study of moral change in a capitalist society’, Mini-workshop, National Research University, Higher School of Economics, Department of Sociology, Moscow, 11.-12.11.2014
  • ‘Neoliberal Populism: the New Politics?, BISA International Political Economy Group (IPEG), Annual workshop, The New Normal: Open conflict after the crash, University of Leeds, 05.-06.09.2014
  • 'Neoliberalism, fraud and moral economy' (with David Whyte), Workshop, Neoliberalism, fraud and moral economy, University of Leeds, 02.05.2014
  • ‘From Fake to Civic Capitalism? Corporate fraud, moral economy and IPE’, Research Seminar, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, 20.11.2013
  • ‘Capitalism, moral restructuring and the law: insights from neoliberal Uganda’, Research Seminar, School of Law, University of Warwick, 20.11.2013
  • ‘What is political about the everyday? The making of social practice, the magnificent seven and E.P. Thompson’, The methodology of the ‘everyday’ in IPE Workshop, University of Copenhagen, 29.-30.05.2012
Co-organisation of workshops, panels and teach-ins (since 2012)
  • African capitalist society, ASAUK 2016
  • Cleaning up capitalism? Economic fraud and anti-fraud measures in contemporary Africa, panel, ECAS 2015.
  • Opposing the Liberal West? Anti-homosexuality Mobilisations in Contemporary Africa, panel, co-organised with Adriaan van Klinken (Leeds), ECAS 2015.
  • The Political Economy of Economic Fraud in Neoliberal Africa, panel, African Studies Association of the UK, biennial conference, 09.-11.09.2014, University of Sussex.
  • BISA IPEG annual workshop 2014: IPE and the New Normal, funded by POLIS and BISA IPEG, University of Leeds, 05.-06.09.2014.
  • Neoliberalism, fraud and moral economy, workshop, co-organised with David Whyte (Liverpool), funded by POLIS and LUCAS, University of Leeds, 02.05.2014.
  • Ideology after the Crash, teach-in, University of Leeds, 27.11.2013

Media Contact Areas

  • Neoliberalism
  • Market society
  • Moral economy
  • Economic fraud
  • Uganda's political economy and economic development

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