An Emerging, Post-Neoliberal Power: The Practice of Brazilian South-South Cooperation in Haiti

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Pickup, Megan




This study examines the practice of Brazil's humanitarian and development cooperation with Haiti. Brazil is one of several "emerging donors" to have significantly increased their provision of development cooperation over the past decade as part of broader shifts in global political economy, raising questions as to how cooperation functions in terms of these powers' broader foreign policy objectives. The dissertation situates the question in literature that asks why states are motivated to provide development cooperation, how cooperation impacts recipient states, and expectations for the foreign policy behaviour of emerging countries in general, and for Brazil specifically. The project is based on extensive fieldwork carried out in Brazil and Haiti with 57 individuals and groups in Portuguese, French, and English, as well as Kreyól (with the assistance of an interpreter).

In contrast to the current treatment of the objectives of a state in providing development cooperation, which remains focused on Western powers, I demonstrate empirically how cooperation has supported Brazil as a specifically "post-neoliberal" emerging power (meaning an interventionist state committed to balancing market concerns with other social, political and economic objectives). I argue that Brazilian cooperation has been positively received by Haitian authorities, resulting in clear (albeit short-term) political gains, mainly because of Brazil's commitment to capacity-building through direct engagement with Haitian officials. However, in approaching aid as a practice, I further conclude that the features of cooperation and the Haitian state's response are inexplicable without a post-colonial interpretation that recognizes Brazil's desire to position itself as an alternative to the West and Haiti's consistent and problematic treatment as "fragile" in its traditional aid relations. I develop the concept of "post-colonial practice" to acknowledge how emergent forms of South-South cooperation occur in this broader, post-colonial context. This approach forges links between material and ideational contributions in IR, especially from critical political economy and post-colonial work (as well as post-development).


International Law and Relations




Carleton University

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Political Science

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Theses and Dissertations

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