SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Mirko van Pampus

BSc, MSc
  • Overview


Mirko van Pampus
Mr Mirko van Pampus
Email address:
Thesis title:
Radical alternatives to neoliberal democracy: the case of Turkey and Brazil
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Born and raised in Amsterdam, Mirko completed his BSc Liberal Arts & Sciences in 2010 with a dissertation on trade relations between the EU and ACP countries. After a contemplative overland trip to China and back, he started his MSc Globalisation & Development at SOAS. He finished in 2012 with a dissertation on labour conditions in Turkey after the neoliberal transformation. After some time living in Turkey, Mirko started his PhD in 2014 on a part time basis, while still teaching at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

On the side Mirko is deputy editor for the London-based academic think tank Research Turkey and writing editor for Dutch blog Also, struck by the harsh conditions that accompany modern day unfunded academia, he works on a farmers market in North London.

PhD Research

I look at the relation between neoliberal capitalism and civic representation. I argue that representative democracy is a direct political manifestation of capitalist society, where the political sphere is seperated from the economic and as such devaluated. More profound forms of democracy would be in direct contestation with continued capital accumulation and are as such historically sidelined.

As case studies I have chosen Brazil and Turkey. Both these countries experienced a radical transformation into the neoliberal phase of capitalism. However, in the last decade both countries seem to have developed in a slightly different manner. As such, I look to how the paradoxal relation between capitalism and democratic representation has played out under these different regimes of capital.

In my fieldwork I want to look at alternative spaces to the neoliberal democracy dominant in both countries. Concretely, I hope to study how certain movements apply a radical interpretation to democratic control and if these alternatives are feasible and relevant.

In this way I hope to contribute to a better understanding of neoliberal democracy, its limits and its contesters.