Professor Kate Bedford

Professor Kate Bedford

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law
Deputy Head of School (Research)

Contact details

Address
Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Kate is an interdisciplinary scholar, with a background in political economy, development, socio-legal studies, and gender/sexuality studies. Her first monograph (Developing Partnerships: Gender, Sexuality and the Reformed World Bank, 2009) explored the World Bank’s gender and development lending in Latin America. She is involved in a new project exploring the consequences of the turn to law within gender and development. Her development research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, Overbrook Foundation, UNRISD, and the RCUK.

Kate is also interested in gambling. In 2008 she began a project on the gendered political economy of gambling regulation, using commercial and non-commercial bingo to think in new ways about the regulation of everyday speculation. Funded by a large ESRC grant (ES/J02385X/1, A Full House: Developing A New Socio-Legal Theory of Global Gambling Regulation), she and a team of researchers have explored bingo regulation around the world. She is currently finalising a monograph on this topic.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Political Science (2005). Rutgers (New Jersey, USA).
    Major field: Women in Politics. Minor fields: Comparative Politics; Globalisation Studies.
  • MA in Women’s Studies (2000). Ohio State University (Ohio, USA).
  • BA Hons (1997). University of Leeds (UK). History and Sociology, with a specialisation in development studies.

Biography

I am an interdisciplinary scholar with a background in political economy, development, socio-legal studies, and gender/sexuality studies. I joined Birmingham Law School as a Professor in 2018. I am currently the Head of Research. Yes, I really do research bingo (among other things), and yes, they did know that when they gave me a job.

My main area of expertise is international development. My first book (Developing Partnerships: Gender, Sexuality and the Reformed World Bank, 2009) explored the World Bank’s gender and development lending in Latin America, with case studies of Ecuador and Argentina. More recently, I have been researching the consequences of the turn to law within gender and development. My development research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, Overbrook Foundation, UNRISD, and the RCUK.

I am also interested in gambling, and what it can teach us about law and political economy. In 2008, I began a project on the gendered political economy of gambling regulation, using commercial and non-commercial bingo to think in new ways about the regulation of everyday speculation. Funded by a large ESRC grant (ES/J02385X/1, A Full House: Developing A New Socio-Legal Theory of Global Gambling Regulation), I and a team of researchers explored bingo regulation around the world. My second book, Bingo Capitalism: The Law and Political  Economy of Everyday Gambling, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. It was awarded the 2020 Hart-SLSA book prize.

Teaching

I teach several modules in the LLB Global Law programme, including Global Law and Globalisation; Contemporary Issues in International Law, and Legal Systems of the World. I have also taught Public Law, Gender and the Law, and Law and Development (LLB and LLM), and I have research expertise in law and political economy. If you wish to write an under-graduate or LLM dissertation in those areas, feel free to get in touch.

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to read PhD proposals in the following areas:
• Law and development (especially in Latin America)
• Law and political economy
• Gender, sexuality, and law
• Gambling regulation


Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

My research focuses on how law, regulation, and governance shape economies, societies, and subjectivities, especially in terms of gender and sexuality.

In 2009 I published a book exploring the impact of the World Bank’s development lending on gender and sexuality, with case studies of Ecuador and Argentina. Rather than exploring areas of lending that were already marked as being about sex, such as HIV/AIDS or reproductive health, I analysed lending that seemed to be about other things, such as export promotion in floriculture, or institutional strengthening in the aftermath of economic crisis. The book showed how multi-lateral development institutions like the Bank played a key role in shaping gender and sexuality in the Global South. It called for much greater debate about this on the part of academics and development practitioners. As a result of this work, I was invited by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development to write a report on care debates in the UN, which looked at sexuality and disability. In 2014, in the aftermath of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s critique of Uganda for passing anti-gay legislation, I was invited to the Bank to give a presentation on sexuality and development. My research has also been used by Sexuality Policy Watch, a global sexual rights organisation, and by the gender team in the Bretton Woods Project, an organisation that monitors the Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Another strand of my research considers the gendered political economy of gambling regulation. Critical political economists have long used gambling to think through capitalism, but they tend to do so via analogies with casinos. I am interested in other, differently gendered, more vernacular gambling forms. I am especially interested in bingo, a lottery-style game popular in many parts of the world about which there is almost no academic research, and certainly not in law. Bingo has a very different demographic to casinos, being especially popular with older, working class women, and, in North America and Australia, with indigenous populations. In addition, bingo is intriguing because it is associated with mutual aid and charitable fundraising as much as, if not more than, commercial gambling in many places. I wanted to know what impact that mix had on regulatory priorities in different places, and what that in turn could teach us about the political economy of gambling regulation. After some pilot projects in England and Canada, in 2013 I was awarded a large ESRC grant to research the comparative regulation of bingo. The research team have generated a number of academic and non-academic outputs, including a public debate about bingo regulation in the UK, and major policy report exploring Brazil, the UK, the EU, and Canada (https://www.kent.ac.uk/thebingoproject/). I have also submitted evidence from the research to the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, as part of their policy work on responsible gambling and online gambling. My academic monograph on what bingo can teach us about regulating capitalism won the 2020 Hart-SLSA book prize.

My current research is on the increasing role played by law within debates about gender, sexuality, and development. For example, I have analysed what early debates about gender and development said about law, in an effort to re-write our histories of law and development. Working with academics in Ecuador, I have explored the role of criminal law within Ecuadorian attempts to combat domestic violence.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Bedford, K 2019, Bingo Capitalism: the Law and Political Economy of Everyday Gambling. Oxford University Press, Oxford. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198845225.001.0001

Alessandrini, D, Bedford, K & Perry-Kessaris, A 2018, Law and development: a connected approach. Bloomsbury, London.

Article

Bedford, K 2020, 'Law, gender, and development: potent hauntings', Law and Development Review, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 229–264. https://doi.org/10.1515/ldr-2019-0066

Bedford, K 2018, 'Regulation and resistance in Canadian bingo halls: a socio-legal account', Journal of Law and Social Policy (New Series), vol. 30, 2, pp. 11. <https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/jlsp/vol30/iss1/2/>

Bedford, K 2016, 'Bingo Regulation and the Feminist Political Economy of Everyday Gambling: In Search of the Anti-Heroic', Globalizations, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 801-814. https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2016.1164981

Bedford, K 2016, 'Letting the Right Ones In: Whitelists, Jurisdictional Reputation, and the Racial Dynamics of Online Gambling Regulation', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 30-47. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775815595816

Bedford, K 2015, 'Regulating Volunteering: Lessons From The Bingo Halls', Law and Social Inquiry, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 461-490. https://doi.org/10.1111/lsi.12100

Bedford, K 2013, 'Reflections from a Visitor', Politics & Gender, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 484-488. <http://kar.kent.ac.uk/59508/>

Bedford, K 2013, 'Research Note: Bingo and Feminist Political Economy', feminists@law, vol. 4, no. 1. <http://kar.kent.ac.uk/59507/>

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Bedford, K 2013, Economic Governance and the Regulation of Intimacy in Gender and Development: Lessons from the World Bank?s programming. in G Caglar, E Prugl & S Zwingel (eds), Feminist Strategies in International Governance. Routledge. <http://kar.kent.ac.uk/59512/>

Bedford, K 2013, Gender, Institutions, and Multilateral Governance. in G Waylen, K Celis, J Kantola & L Weldon (eds), Handbook on Gender and Politics. SIPRI/Oxford University Press. <http://kar.kent.ac.uk/30054/>

Commissioned report

Bedford, K 2012, Care and the Commission on the Status on Women. UN Research Institute for Social Development. <http://kar.kent.ac.uk/59513/>

Conference contribution

Bedford, K 2017, O Paper do directo na justica sexual e economica: perspectivas criticas dos estudos de genero. in Conference proceedings from the 2nd Conference on Gender and Sexual Diversity. Universidade Federal of Minas Gerais.

Other report

Bedford, K, Alvarez-Macotela, O, Casey, D, Jobim, MLK & Williams, T 2016, The Bingo Project: Rethinking Gambling Regulation. University of Kent. <https://www.kent.ac.uk/thebingoproject/resources/Bingo_Project_report_final.pdf>

Special issue

Bedford, K 2013, 'Halls, Balls and Volunteers: The Feminist Political Economy of Gambling Regulation', Scholar & Feminist Online, vol. FALL 2012/SPRING 2013, no. 11.1-11.2. <http://sfonline.barnard.edu/gender-justice-and-neoliberal-transformations/hallls-balls-and-volunteers-the-feminist-political-economy-of-gambling-regulation/>

View all publications in research portal

Media experience

I have appeared on BBC radio to discuss the Bingo Project, and my research was featured in the Times Higher (Bingo! Game gives researchers lessons in how to control gambling (Matthew Reisz) 

Expertise

Gender and international development 

Gambling regulation