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Dr Thomas F. Purcell
Thomas Purcell is a Lecturer in the Department of European & International Studies at Kings College London.

Dr Thomas F. Purcell

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Lecturer in International Political Economy

Research subject areas

  • Politics

Contact details


Tom joined the Department of European & International Studies at King’s College in September 2019. He holds a PhD in Politics from The University of Manchester (2010) and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2013), funded by the Spanish Ministry Education, at the Open University of Catalonia’s (UOC) Urban Transformation and Global Change Laboratory (TURBA Lab). Following this (2013-2015), he was Deputy Director of The National Strategy Centre for the Right to Territory (CENEDET) housed at the state postgraduate University (Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales) Quito, Ecuador. Tom also served 3 years as Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at Leeds Beckett University.


  • Global Political Economy
  • Development Studies
  • Agrarian Studies
  • Financialisation
  • Urban Political Economy

Tom’s research spans four principle thematic areas: the political economy of development in Latin America; the relationship between value and rent in global agricultural commodity chains; the ‘financialisation’ of cities and urban infrastructure; and economic and political crisis in Spain and the Eurozone’s periphery. A unifying thread running throughout Tom’s research is a deep methodological and political interest in the territorial, institutional and scalar power relations which permit the production and appropriation of value in the global economy. Tom is interested in the Marxian critique of political economy as a means to transcend disciplinary boundaries, to theorise from the vantage point of the Global South and, most importantly, to interpret real world problems.

Currently, his research is organised around three projects.

  • A monograph that will draw together over ten years’ worth of research experience on Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. The book is tentatively titled, “Rentier Revolution: The Rise and Fall of 21st Century Socialism in Venezuela”.
  • A collaborative project with Martín Arboleda (Diego Portales University, Santiago de Chile): “City of Foodwebs: Santiago de Chile and the Logistics Revolution in Agriculture.” This project seeks to respond to calls for an expanded conception of extractivism in Latin America by thinking through the intertwined circuits of productive-commodity-money capital in Chile’s agro-food system.
  • An interdisciplinary collaboration, with Alex Loftus (King’s) and Hug March (UOC), organised around a recent theoretical contribution termed ‘Value-rent-finance’ (published in Progress in Human Geography, 2019). This project seeks to understand contemporary forms of ‘rentiership’ and value extraction from the enclosure of land, infrastructure and natural resources


Tom’s teaching covers Theories of International Political Economy, The Political Economy of Globalisation, Marxism, and The Political Economy of Development in the Global South.

He will be teaching:

PhD Supervision

Tom welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of his research interests.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Contemporary Venezuela

The global cocoa sector

Financial investment in the water sector

Agricultural value chains

Tom has written for the public platform The Conversation and provided expert commentary and analysis for radio. He has acted as a reviewer for a range of international academic journals and Cornell University Press (Anthropology and Social Sciences).

Recent Publications

(2019) ‘Value-Rent-Finance’ co-authored with Alex Loftus and Hug March, Progress in Human Geography.

(2018) ‘The Political Economy of Water Infrastructure: An introduction to Financialization’ (co-authored with Alex Loftus and Hug March) WIREs Water

(2018) ‘Hot Chocolate’: Financialized Global Value Chains and Cocoa Production in Ecuador’ Journal of Peasant Studies DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2018.1446000

(2018) ‘Post-Neoliberal Energy Modernity and the Political Economy of the Landlord State in Ecuador’, with Estefania Martinez Energy Research and Social Science 41, pp.12-21

(2018) ‘The Value of Rents: Global Commodity Chains and Small Cocoa Producers in Ecuador’, co-authored with Nora Fernandez and Estefania Martinez Antipode Antipode 50.3: 641-661. DOI: 10.1111/anti.12380

(2018) Urbanismo utópico, realidades distópicas: una etnografía (im)posible en Yachay, “ciudad del conocimiento” etnográfica, 22 (2): 335-360, co-authored with Miquel Fernandez and Maribel Cadenas DOI : 10.4000/etnografica.5474

(2017) ‘The Political Economy of Rentier Capitalism and the Limits to Agrarian Transformation in Venezuela’ Journal of Agrarian Change 2017; 17:296–312.

(2017) Rents, Knowledge and Neostructuralism: Transforming the Productive Matrix in Ecuador, Co-authored with Nora Fernandez and Estefania Martinez, Third World Quarterly 38 (4): 918-938 2017