Dr Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente

Dr Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Associate Professor in Political Economy

Contact details

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente is a political economist and political geographer with a particular interest in South-South relations, China’s developmental footprint in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the transformation of politics under late capitalism.


  • PhD in Geography, University of Cambridge, 2013
  • MPhil in Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong, 2009
  • Diploma in Mandarin Chinese, Peking University, 2007
  • BA in Chinese Studies, Autonomous University of Madrid, 2007
  • BA in English Philology, University of A Coruña, 2005


Ruben’s research explores contemporary South-South relations, although remaining critical of statist understandings of the ‘South’ that ignore emerging international hierarchies, and class or postcolonial inequalities. Ruben’s research has focused primarily on China’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. From this vantage point, his work has addressed the internationalization of Chinese capital, China’s foreign policy, the social and environmental impacts of Chinese investments and development cooperation, and the role of natural resources and infrastructure in contested processes of development. Ruben has also published a number of articles on the transformation of politics following decades of neoliberal globalization.

Prior to joining the University of Birmingham, Ruben worked as an Assistant Professor at the City University of Hong Kong (2012-16) and as a University Lecturer at the University of Leiden (2017-2021).

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome suggestions and proposals for PhD supervision on projects concerning South-South relations and development cooperation, and in particular China’s relations with the Caribbean and Latin America.


Global Political Economy.
Political Geography.
South-South relations.
Global China.
Latin America and the Caribbean.


Recent publications


Gonzalez Vicente, R 2022, 'In the name of the nation: authoritarian practices, capital accumulation, and the radical simplification of development in China’s global vision', Globalizations. https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2022.2121061

Gonzalez Vicente, R & Montoute, A 2021, 'A Caribbean perspective on China-Caribbean relations: global IR, dependency and the postcolonial condition', Third World Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 219-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2020.1834841

Alami, I, Dixon, AD, Gonzalez Vicente, R, Babic, M, Lee, S-O, Medby, IA & de Graaf, N 2021, 'Geopolitics and the ‘new’ state capitalism', Geopolitics. https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2021.1924943

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2020, 'The liberal peace fallacy: Violent neoliberalism and the temporal and spatial traps of state-based approaches to peace’', Territory, Politics, Governance, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 100-116. https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2018.1550012

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2020, 'Varieties of capital and predistribution: The foundations of Chinese infrastructural investment in the Caribbean', Made in China Journal, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 164-168. <https://madeinchinajournal.com/2020/05/06/varieties-of-capital-and-predistribution-chinese-investment-carribean/>

Gonzalez Vicente, R, Carroll, T & Jarvis, DS 2019, 'Capital, conflict and convergence: A political understanding of neoliberalism and its relationship to capitalist transformation', Globalizations, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 778-803.

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2019, '‘Make Development Great Again? Accumulation regimes, spaces of sovereign exception and the elite development paradigm of China’s Belt and Road Initiative', Business and Politics, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 487-513. https://doi.org/10.1017/bap.2019.20

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2021, Global China’s business frontier: Chinese enterprises and the reach of the state. in F Pieke & K Iwabuchi (eds), Global East Asia: Into the Twenty-First Century. Global Square, vol. 4, University of California Press, pp. 253-262. https://doi.org/10.1525/9780520971424-026

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2021, Over hills and valleys too: China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Caribbean. in F Schneider (ed.), Global Perspectives on China's Belt and Road Initiative: Asserting Agency through Regional Connectivity. Amsterdam University Press, pp. 171-194. https://doi.org/10.5117/9789463727853

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2019, Where is the South? Global, postcolonial and intersectional perspectives. in E Mawdsley, E Fourie & W Nauta (eds), Researching South-South Development Cooperation: The Politics of Knowledge Production. Routledge, pp. 27-31.

Gonzalez Vicente, R 2017, China and the United States in the Andes. in DBH Denoon (ed.), China, the U.S. and the Future of Latin America. New York University Press, pp. 209-231.


Gonzalez Vicente, R 2021, 'Why a critical geopolitics cannot be Confucian', Dialogues in Human Geography, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 248-252. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F20438206211017769

Commissioned report

Hogenboom, B, Baud, M, Gonzalez Vicente, R & Steinhöfel , D 2022, China’s Economic and Political Role in Latin America. CEDLA–UvA, Amsterdam. <https://www.chinakennisnetwerk.nl/publications/chinas-economic-and-political-role-latin-america>

Hogenboom, B, Baud, M, Gonzalez Vicente, R, Steinhöfel, D & Pin, R 2022, China’s Economic and Political Role in the Caribbean and Central America. CEDLA–UvA, Amsterdam. <https://www.chinakennisnetwerk.nl/publications/chinas-economic-and-political-role-caribbean-and-central-america>

Other contribution

Lynton, J & Gonzalez Vicente, R 2022, Jamaica.. <https://thepeoplesmap.net/country/jamaica/>

View all publications in research portal