Universiteit Leiden

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Maria Gabriela Palacio Ludeña

University Lecturer Development Studies

Name
Dr. M.G. Palacio Ludeña
Telephone
+31 70 800 9930
E-mail
m.g.palacio.ludena@hum.leidenuniv.nl
ORCID iD
0000-0003-1792-6013

I am an Assistant Professor (University Lecturer) in Modern History at the Latin American Studies Programme - Institute for History. I teach courses on Nation-Building in the Latin American Studies Programme, and Economy: Latin America and Practising International Studies at the Bachelor in International Studies. My courses engage in dialogue with various literature streams, namely political economy, anthropology of the state and development studies. While my work focuses on the Latin American region, I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with students and organisations whose research focuses on other regions but deal with issues of social exclusion, inequality, poverty studies and/or social policy. I am currently supervising several internships and MA theses.

More information about Maria Gabriela Palacio Ludeña

I am an Assistant Professor (University Lecturer) in Modern History at the Latin American Studies Programme - Institute for History. I teach courses on Nation-Building in the Latin American Studies Programme, and Economy: Latin America and Practising International Studies at the Bachelor in International Studies. My courses engage in dialogue with various literature streams, namely political economy, anthropology of the state and development studies. While my work focuses on the Latin American region, I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with students and organisations whose research focuses on other regions but deal with issues of social exclusion, inequality, poverty studies and/or social policy. I am currently supervising several internships and MA theses.

Fields of interest

My research contributes to interdisciplinary work on development studies, with a focus on social policy. Situated within development studies and informed by political economy, anthropology of the state, and sociology of gender and race; it seeks to understand how social policy shapes social and political identities. To that aim, I have adopted an intersectional approach, attentive to gender, age, class, race, and ethnicity. Most of my empirical research has focused on Ecuador, though I have written more broadly about Latin America.

Research

My work interrogates conventional approaches to (economic) development by engaging with questions of identity, difference, and power. It situates the processes of marginalisation and exclusion in Latin America from a historical perspective. I cultivate a situated and critical scholarship that engages with contemporary Latin American challenges, such as the persistence of inequality and increased levels of social fragmentation, which are read in their historical and socio-economic contexts.

My research agenda seeks to contribute to an emerging field of critical social policy scholarship. My research deals with the gendered, racialised and generational impacts of targeted social protection programmes. The efficacy of social assistance in achieving quantifiable development outcomes has received much attention while turning a blind eye to the broader systemic consequences of these programmes. My research moves beyond policy evaluations of such outcomes. Instead, it seeks to explore the potential role of social protection in perpetuating rather than attenuating existing exclusion and power differentials in Latin America, reproducing various forms of discrimination, domination, oppression, and social fragmentation. It also addresses the normative and material dimensions of redistributive social policies in a context of limited fiscal capacity, engaging with critical questions regarding the financing of social policies and programmes including high levels of indebtedness in the region next to tax evasion. 

My current research engages more centrally with questions of identity, difference, and power, which are essential given the rapid pace of cultural and socio-political transformation that has taken place over the past years in the Latin American region, as evinced in the 2019 protests. I engage with interdisciplinary approaches that expose the structural and normative consonance between political aspects and processes of social fragmentation and exclusion in the region.

Curriculum Vitae

I hold a PhD in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). I obtained my BSc in Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in 2008 and an MSc degree in Social Economy and Non-Profit Organisations Management at the Universitat de València in 2009. I also obtained an MA in Development Studies at the ISS in 2011, specialising in Poverty Studies and Policy Analysis. Along this path, I became aware of the limitations of monodisciplinary analysis and started exploring new ways of thinking about social policy. Development scholarship enriched my understanding of systemic aspects of exclusion, engaging with critical theory and operationalising during my PhD different approaches such as ethnography and critical discourse analysis, next to quantitative methods such as social surveys and econometrics.

Before my academic career, I worked in the NGO sector on public health projects, as a consultant on value chains and sustainable development, and in public administration for the Ecuadorian Development Bank. I have maintained and developed previous engagements consulting for various (inter)national organisations such as UNU-WIDER, the Centre for Fiscal Studies and the National Development Council of Ecuador; on projects related to inequality and poverty, social protection and tax reform. 

The professional, research, and teaching aspects of my career have always been interconnected and deeply committed to effecting transformative change in the Latin American region. Having held posts in more than one academic discipline, from economics to critical approaches to development studies, and moved across the various posts, e.g. public administration, consultancy and academia, I have gained a great appreciation for interdisciplinary work, localised research, and collaborative work. Development scholarship enriched my understanding of systemic aspects of poverty and inequality in Latin America, engaging with critical theory and operationalising approaches such as ethnography and critical discourse analysis, next to quantitative methods such as social surveys and econometrics. In my research and teaching, I have favoured the use of country and historical cases to challenge consolidated assumptions and interpretations of the region’s developmental challenges, for example, the persistence of informality.

Grants and awards

I was awarded the Teaching Innovation Grant (2020), together with Tamara Soukotta, to develop the Critical Theories and Practices seminar, which employes critical pedagogy to introduce critical theories and research methods to motivate a reflection on the situatedness of knowledge (re)production. I was also awarded a grant by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) on 'The Economics and Politics of Taxation and Social Protection' in 2015. I was also awarded a grant by the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), endorsed by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, to attend the 8th Annual Advanced Graduate Workshop (AGW) on Poverty, Development and Globalisation (India, 2015), organised jointly by the Azim Premji University, INET and Columbia University.

Key publications

Palacio Ludeña, M.G., 2019. Institutionalising Segregation: Women, Conditional Cash Transfers, and Paid Employment in Southern Ecuador. Population and Development Review. O. Social assistance has been received with anxiety, as many consider receiving cash will work as a disincentive for women to enter paid work. This article argues that this concern is misplaced. Drawing from feminist economics and sociology of gender, it questions the argument of welfare dependency attributed to cash transfers. The analysis of the Ecuadorian case points at systemic aspects of segregation and suggests that social assistance has neither affected the employment structure nor tackled the sources of gender inequality.

Palacio Ludeña, M.G., 2016. Little People, Big Words: 'Generationing' Cash Transfers in Urban Ecuador in Huijsmans (ed.) Generationing' Development: A Relational Approach to Children, Youth and Development (2016), Palgrave Macmillan UK. Despite the centrality of children in CCTs, their voices have remained absent from the literature. Like most research on CCTs, my work had mostly focused on beneficiary mothers and households. In this chapter, I employed a generational approach, decentring adults' experiences and perspectives in order to create the conceptual space to bring in children. This ethnographic study is illustrative of how CCTs reconfigure the relational position of 'poor' children within the household and society.

 

University Lecturer Development Studies

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculteitsbureau
  • International Studies

Work address

Wijnhaven
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
Room number 5.50

Contact

Guest

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Latijns-Amerika studies

Work address

Reuvens
Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 1.06

Contact

Publications

  • Central Bank of Ecuador Member of the Editorial Board of the periodical Cuestiones Economicas
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