Valbona Muzaka

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Economic History

+4618-471 4832
Visiting address:
Kyrkogårdsgatan 10

Postal address:
Box 513
751 20 UPPSALA

Short presentation

I joined the Department of Economic History in 2021. My work focuses on the knowledge economy, intangible assets, the political economy of intellectual property, global governance issues (especially of global health, trade, and plant genetic resources), development, and, more broadly, international political economy. I teach and supervise on these and other areas.

Prior to joining the department in 2021, I was a Reader at King's College London (UK), a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Southampton University, UK (2009-2012), and a Lecturer at University of Sheffield, UK (2008-2009). University of Sheffield is also where I completed my PhD (2004-2008).

In a previous life, I studied Finance and Economics in Tirana, Albania, which is where I am from. I worked as a business analyst in a development bank for two years before deciding to undertake postgraduate studies. This led me to an MA in International Relations in the UK (2002-2003), an internship with the UN Human Rights Commission for Human Rights (2004), and then to a PhD.

I am currently a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK), an editor of New Political Economy, and a member of the international editorial board of International Affairs. During 2022-2023 I was Senior Global Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. I have been a visiting researcher at a number of institutions, including the University of Stockholm (2010), the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (New Delhi, India, 2013), the Fundação Getulio Vargas (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2014), the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2016), and more recently the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (2022-2023). I sometimes blog here.

Research Interests

  • The knowledge economy
  • Intangible assets, esp. intellectual property ones
  • The political economy of Intellectual property rights
  • Public health governance
  • The global governance of trade
  • The global governance of plant genetic resources
  • Development
  • Rising Powers, especially India and Brazil
  • International political economy

My approach to the areas listed above is critical in nature, aiming to understand how the dynamic interplay between actors with different agendas, normative understandings, discursive strategies and material capabilities within specific social, political and economic contexts results in certain outcomes and not others, and whose values/interests are represented or marginalised in such outcomes. In short, working in areas listed above, I aim to show why things are the way they are.

From a theoretical perspective, my research draws from diverse quarters, such as constructivism, the regulation school, heterodox economics, science and technology studies, property rights theory, sociological institutionalism, Gramscian approaches, and social movement theory.

In terms of empirical research interests, this mode of enquiry has informed my research on the nature of the knowledge economy as a distinct socio-economic formation, the role of intellectual property titles as a new form of capital and asset, investigations on the social and political conflicts over the governance of intellectual property at the international and domestic level, research on conflicts in the trade regime including but not limited to the WTO, issues pertaining to global public health (especially access to medicines), farmers' rights, and issues of development in the 21st century, with a particular focus on India and Brazil. See full list of publications below.

Research Grants/Awards

  • Jan Wallanders & Tom Hedelius Foundation (2023-2027)
  • Senior Global Fellow, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (September 2022-June 2023)
  • British Academy Newton Mobility Grant (March 2018- June 2019, with L. Ribeiro)
  • CONFAP-British Academies, Fellowship Grant (July 2016- February 2018),
  • British Academy Newton Fund Mobility Grant (April 2015- March 2016)
  • The British Council Researcher Links Grant (March 2014 – August 2015)
  • The Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (October 2012 – December 2013)
  • Overseas Research Student Award Scheme, UK Secretary of State for Education (2004 –07)
  • Endowed Harry Worthington Scholarship, University of Sheffield, UK, (2004 – 2007)

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Valbona Muzaka