Carolyn Bassett

Associate ProfessorCarolyn Bassett

My research is on socio-economic policy in South Africa between the 1980s (late apartheid) and the present day; I’m especially interested in the role social movement actors like the organized labour movement have played in shaping and influencing policy. For the past four years I have been researching the processes through which South Africa’s largest labour organization, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, have produced and disseminated policy knowledge. The research will form the basis for a book. In addition, I have been following South Africa’s alternative budget process, as well as broader issues in South African politics under the African National Congress (ANC).

I teach courses in the areas of globalization, global political economy, the political economy of the African continent and international relations. In my undergraduate teaching, I am particularly interested in exploring how we as individuals reproduce globalization in our daily lives, through our ideas, our consumption practices, our jobs, and even our investments. In addition to my involvement in the political science program, I am an associate faculty member in the International Development Studies program and a core faculty member in the Women's Studies program at UNB.

I joined the Department of Political Science in 2008, after having spent three years teaching at York University and three years at Trent. I received my doctorate in Political Science from York in 2000, my MA from Carleton and my BA from Trent. Prior to becoming a professor, I worked for non-governmental organizations like the Canadian Peace Alliance, CUSO, Friends of the Earth and the Latin American Working Group, and was involved as a volunteer in numerous student and social justice campaigns.

Recent publications:

  • "The Spectre of Debt in South Africa", Labour, Capital and Society 41.2 (2008).
  • “The South African People’s Budget Campaign as a Challenge to Neo-Liberal Policy Framework and Methodology,” in Neoliberalism and Globalization in Africa: Contestations from the Embattled Continent, ed. Joseph Mensah. Palgrave, 2008.
  •  “Revisiting capital’s ‘formative action’ in South Africa”, Review of African Political Economy 35.116 (2008).
  • “The Zuma Affair, labour and the future of democracy in South Africa” (co-authored with Marlea Clarke), Third World Quarterly 29.4 (2008).
  • “South African Trade Unions and Globalization: Going for the High Road, Getting Stuck on the Low Road” (co-authored with Marlea Clarke), Work, Organisation, Labour and Globalisation 2.1 (2008).
  • “Labour and hegemony in South Africa’s first decade of majority rule,” Studies in Political Economy 76 (autumn 2005).
  • “The Demise of the Social Contract in South Africa,” Canadian Journal of African Studies, 38.3 2004.


Introductory courses:
POLS 1603 Politics of Globalization
POLS 2303 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POLS 2703 Introduction to International Relations

Advanced courses:
POLS 3711 Political Economy of Development in Africa*
POLS 3712 Globalization and Everyday Life*
POLS 3713 The Global Economy: Power, Production, Profit and People*
POLS 3721 Beverages and International Development in Historical Perspective*
POLS 4722 Women, Gender and Development*#

Graduate courses:
POLS 6617 Citizenship, Justice, Democracy: South Africa

*International Development Studies electives
# Women's Studies core course

Contact Information:

Carolyn Bassett

Associate Professor
Office: Tilley 214
Phone: (506) 458-7192