Alumni Senior Fellow

Dr Liam Swiss

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-135
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: swiss@spam


Dr Liam Swiss joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Senior Fellow. He conducted his research in Research Unit 1 “The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation” from August 2016 to July 2017.

Research Project at the Centre

Foreign Aid and the Diffusion of Global Norms

Countries of the Global South are increasingly adopting institutions and policies congruent with a set of globally accepted norms, despite other development challenges and persistent poverty. Foreign aid’s role in this globalization process remains unclear and under-theorized. My project at the Centre will analyze how foreign aid and other forms of development finance are implicated in the diffusion and implementation of common policies, institutions, and norms in countries of the Global South. This work is a portion of a larger five-year (2016–2021) project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The goal in that larger project is to analyze the evidence of aid as a transnational mechanism of globalization and homogenization in order to formulate a novel World Society theoretical model of foreign aid and globalization. During my fellowship, my main research objectives will include understanding:

1. how foreign aid is linked to the adoption of global norms and institutional models in the developing world; and

2. how aid influences the implementation or enforcement of previously adopted policies and norms.

Research Interests

  • Foreign Aid
  • Globalization
  • World Society
  • Gender and Development
  • Security, Conflict, and Development
  • Violence Against Aid Workers

Current Projects


Since 09/2016 Memorial University, St. John's, Canada
Department of Sociology
Associate Professor
07/2010-08/2016 Memorial University, St. John's
Department of Sociology
Assistant Professor
06/2015-06/2016 Canadian Sociological Association
Sociology of Development Research Cluster
Cluster Coordinator
11/2015 Canadian Review of Sociology
Associate Editor
06/2012-06/2013 Candian Association for the Study of International Development
09/2009-05/2010 University of Ottawa, Canada
School of Political Studies
Post-doctoral Fellow
09/2007-08/2009 Canadian International Development Agency
Asia Branch
Development Officer
09/2003-02/2009 McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Department of Sociology
PhD Student

Selected Publications

Swiss, Liam, Kathleen M. Fallona, and Alissa Mazar (2017): The Development Benefits of Maternity Leave, in: World Development (online fist).

Swiss, Liam, and Nilima Gulrajani (2017): Why do Countries Become Donors? Assessing the Drivers and Implications of Donor Proliferation, ODC Report March 2017, London: Overseas Development Institute.

Swiss, Liam (2016): World Society and the Global Foreign Aid Network, in: Sociology of Development 2(4): 342–74.

Swiss, Liam (2016): A Sociology of Foreign Aid and the World Society, in: Sociology Compass 10(1): 65–73. 

Swiss, Liam, and Longhofer, Wesley (2016): Membership Has Its Privileges: Shared International Organizational Affiliation and Foreign Aid Flows, 1978-2010, in: Social Forces 94(4): 1769–93. 

Swiss, Liam (2015): Space For Gender Equality in the Security and Development Agenda? Insights From Three Donors, in: Brown, Stephen and Grävingholt, Jörn (eds.): The Securitization of Foreign Aid, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 188–211.

Swiss, Liam, and Brown, Stephen (2015): The Aid Orphan Myth, in: Third World Quarterly 36(2): 240–56. 

Jones, Robert C., and Swiss, Liam (2014): Gendered Leadership: The Effects of Female Development Agency Leaders on Foreign Aid Spending, in: Sociological Forum 29(3): 571–86.

Swiss, Liam (2014): Mimicry and Motives: Canadian Aid Allocation in Longitudinal Perspective, in:  Brown, Stephen, Black, David R., and den Heyer, Molly (eds.): Rethinking Canadian Aid, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 101–24. Download complete book

Brown, Stephen, and Swiss, Liam (2013): The Hollow Ring of Donor Commitment: Country Concentration and the Decoupling of Aid Effectiveness Norms From Donor Practice, in: Development Policy Review 31(6): 73755. 

Swiss, Liam (2012): The Adoption of Women and Gender as Development Assistance Priorities: An Event History Analysis of World Polity Effects, in: International Sociology 27(1): 96119. 

Swiss, Liam (2012): Gender, Security, and Instrumentalism: Canada’s Foreign Aid in Support of National Interest?, in: Brown, Stephen (ed.): Struggling for Effectiveness: CIDA and Canadian Foreign Aid, Montréal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 13558.

Swiss, Liam (2011): Security Sector Reform and Development Assistance: Explaining the Diffusion of Policy Priorities Among Donor Agencies, in: Qualitative Sociology 34(2): 371–93. 

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Advanced Quantitative Methods (graduate seminar), Memorial University
  • Sociology Graduate Seminar (graduate seminar), Memorial University
  • Methods of Sociological Research (graduate seminar), Memorial University
  • Changing World (undergraduate lecture; online course), Memorial University
  • Social and Economic Development (undergraduate lecture), Memorial University
  • Gender and Development (undergraduate seminar), Memorial University
  • Development Sociology (undergraduate seminar), Memorial University
  • Politics of Foreign Aid (undergraduate seminar), University of Ottawa
  • Gender Relations, Development, and Globalization (undergraduate lecture), University of Ottawa
  • Gender and International Relations (undergraduate seminar), Carleton University
  • Development and Underdevelopment (undergraduate lecture), McGill University

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Overseas Development Institute, UK
  • Canadian International Development Agency
  • Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation, Canada

Seminars and Conferences

  • “Evolution of the Global Foreign Aid Network, 1960-2010: Sticky Ties, Donor Darlings, & Aid Orphans”, Canadian Sociological Association Meetings, University of Calgary, May 2016.
  • “Gendered Violence Against Aid Workers: The Effects of Securitized Aid”, Canadian Sociological Association Meetings, University of Calgary, May 2016.
  • “Have Changes in Official Language led to Spending Shifts?”, with Jessica M.V. Barry, Canadian Association for the Study of International Development Conference, University of Ottawa, June 2015.
  • “For Better or For Worse? Maternity Leave and Development”, with Kathleen M. Fallon and Alissa Mazar, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, August 2015.
  • “Foreign Aid & the Diffusion of Human Rights Norms”, Invited presentation to the Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen, October 2014.
  • “The Aid Orphan Myth”, with Stephen Brown, International Political Science Association World Congress, Montreal, July 2014.
  • “Electoral Quotas in the Developing World”, with Kathleen M. Fallon, International Political Science Association World Congress, Montreal, July 2014.
  • “A Forced Marriage: Implications of the CIDA-DFAIT Merger”, Invited keynote address to 'The Politics of Aid – Implications of the CIDA-DFAIT Merger' Conference, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, Ottawa, October 2013.
  • “Mockingbird or Maverick? Canadian Aid Allocation in Longitudinal Perspective”, Rethinking Canadian Aid Symposium, Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, September 2013.
  • “Membership Has Its Privileges: Shared International Organizational Affiliation and Foreign Aid Flows, 1978-2010”, with Wesley Longhofer, American Sociological Association Meetings, New York, August 2013.
  • “Country Concentration and Aid Effectiveness: Better Aid through More Assistance to Fewer Recipients?”, with Stephen Brown, Unpacking Aid Effectiveness Workshop, London School of Economics and Political Science, June 2011.
  • “A New National Project for Canadian Development Cooperation”, Re-imagining International Aid and Development - Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation workshop, University of Toronto, May 2010.


  • Canadian Sociological Association
  • Canadian Association for the Study of International Development
  • American Sociological Association


  • Memorial University of Newfoundland Students Union MUNSU Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Life, 2012

Dr Philip Liste

Dr. Blayne Haggart

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Prof. Stephen Brown

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Prof. Meibo Huang

Dr Abou Jeng

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Prof. Dr Jonathan Joseph

Dr Yannis Kallianos

Dr phil. habil. Otto Kallscheuer

Prof. Dr Babacar Kanté

Prof. Dr Ina Kerner

Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Mag. Dr Martina Kopf

Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Prof. Siddharth Mallavarapu

Dr Xavier Mathieu

Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

PD Dr Christian Meyer

Dr Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby

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Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Dr Dirk Peters

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Prof. Elena Pulcini

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Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme

Dr Nicole Renvert

Dr Mathieu Rousselin

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Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

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Prof. Dr Klaus Schlichte

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Prof. Dr Ulrich Schneckener

Prof. Jan Aart Scholte

Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

Dr Katrin Seidel

Dr Balraj K. Sidhu

Dr Deepshikha Shahi

Dr Abdolkarim Soroush

Prof. Detlef Sprinz, Ph.D.

Dr Holger Straßheim

Dr Ángela Suárez-Collado

Dr Liam Swiss

Prof. Dr Christian J. Tams

Margret Thalwitz

Dr Peter Thiery

Prof. emerit. Arild Underdal

Dr rer. pol. Winfried Veit

Dr Wanda Vrasti

Prof. Dong Wang

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