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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral Thesis on the Political Visions of the Nation of Ghana between 1982 and 1992 Martins Kwazema

M.A. Martins Kwazema’s doctoral thesis in General History will be put forth for public defence at Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled The Irony of Economic Miracle: Spotlight on Past Futures of Ghana’s December 31st Revolution 1982–1992.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 23 October 2023 at 1PM in the Helikon auditorium in the Arken-building, Tehtaankatu 2, Turku. Professor Paul Nugent, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK will serve as opponent and Professor Holger Weiss, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


This doctoral thesis theorizes past futures as a new theory and method for deepening historical research. The thesis then applies this deep historicization of the past to investigate the political visions of the nation of Ghana between 1982 and 1992. During this period, Ghana witnessed the popular December 31st Revolution led by the nation’s former president, Jerry Rawlings. Rawlings came into power through a military coup on 31 December 1981. He succeeded at implementing wide-ranging macroeconomic and institutional reforms during his regime. Due to his affiliation with leftwing intellectuals in Ghana, his initial prevailing political rhetoric was anti-imperialist and revolutionary. However, in 1983 his rhetoric adopted predominantly “neoliberal” underpinnings.

This shift in rhetoric reflected the global economic and political realities of the 1980s. During this period, the IMF and World Bank sponsored the nation’s structural adjustment programs. Initially, the adjustment programmes appeared to generate significant economic prosperity. Following what was popularized as an emerging “economic miracle” by the World Bank, Ghana was declared the most successful case of structural adjustment in Africa. Soon, however, the structural adjustment programmes were on the verge of collapse by 1995 as the economy experienced a downward slope. With heavy fiscal burdens, macroeconomic imbalances, massive inflation, and a rapid fall in the standard of living, Ghana was already on the World Bank’s list of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) by 2001. Herein lies the irony of the nation’s ‘economic miracle’.

Methodologically, the doctoral dissertation deconstructs the period of this economic miracle 1982–1992 into two distinct past futures. The first past future consists of the political vision of the nation between 1982 and 1983. This period in the nation’s history is marked with a phase undergirded by an anti-imperialist revolutionary rhetoric in governance. The second past future consists of the nation’s political vision between 1983 and 1992. This period is marked with the implementation of the IMF and World Bank sponsored structural adjustment programs in Ghana. The objective behind analyzing these past futures is to deepen the analysis of the historical development of events, which led to the rise and decline of Ghana’s emergent economic miracle during the period under study. 

Martins Kwazema was born in 1985, in Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached by phone +358 45 605 5698 or email martins.kwazema@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive. 

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.