BiographySerena Natile is an Assistant Professor at Warwick Law School, University of Warwick. Serena holds an LLB from the University of Siena (with an academic year spent as an Erasmus visiting student at the University of Bristol Law School), a MA in International Studies from the University of Trento and a PhD in Socio-Legal Studies from the University of Kent. Before joining Warwick, Serena was a Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies at Brunel Law School (2018-2020), a Postdoctoral Researcher at King’s College London (2017-2018) and an Associate Lecturer and Researcher at Kent Law School and at the Centre for Sexuality, Race and Gender Justice (2012-2018). Besides academia, Serena worked for the Migration and Asylum Unit of the Permanent Representation of Italy to the EU (2010) and for the UNDP in Brussels (2011) and collaborated with gender rights organisations and activists in Italy, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Brazil.
Serena teaches Gender & the Law, socio-legal approaches to International Economic Law and Public Law. She holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is particularly interested in critical pedagogy and decolonial and reparative approaches to teaching.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Serena’s research lies mainly in the areas of law & development, global political economy and gender studies. In her research, Serena brings together socio-legal enquiry, critical political economy analysis and feminist approaches to examine the social implications of development and humanitarian interventions as shaped by the rise of digital technologies. In doing so, Serena engages with questions of coloniality, social reproduction and redistribution and, more generally, with the relationship between law and social justice. The inspiration and motivation for her research come from collaborations with activist groups, NGOs and international organisations, from incessant conversations with colleagues and friends around the world and from the constant exchange of ideas with students.
Serena is currently working on four main research projects:
The Distributive Dynamics of Digital Financial Platforms: drawing on the research conducted for her book The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: Mobile Money, Gendered Walls (Routledge 2020) which focuses on mobile money in Kenya, Serena is now investigating digital financial platforms in Brazil and Namibia. She is also theorising on the possibility to realise a New Digital Economic Order that re-enacts the decolonial redistributive politics of the New International Economic Order (NIEO).
IEL Collective: this collaborative project aims to provide a space for critical reflection on the knowledge, institutions and logics that govern the global economy, and stimulate conversations about plurality and representation in researching, teaching and practising international economic law (IEL).
Inclusionary Practices Project: Serena is part of the British Academy-funded Inclusionary Practices Project led by Professor Toni Williams from Kent Law School and Professor Fabricio Polido from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG). This project examines multiple ways in which legal and regulatory techniques are used to implement social and economic inclusion policies in Europe, Latin America and in the digital domain. The research team is currently working on an edited collection.
Digital Humanitarianism: Serena is collaborating with Professor David Nelken from King’s College on a project that maps how digital technologies such as blockchain are changing the governance of humanitarian assistance and analyses law and policy dilemmas resulting from these changes. This project is conducted in partnership with colleagues at King’s College, at the University of New South Wales, at the Digital Financial Innovation Lab - University of Cape Town and at FGV São Paolo.
Published: Mar 02, 2020 by International Journal of Law in Context
Authors: Serena Natile
Subjects: Law, Gender & Intersectionality Studies
Bringing together socio-legal enquiry, feminist political economy analysis and post-colonial literature, this paper discusses the inclusionary regulatory arrangements of digital financial and examines its implications for gender equality. It shows that, while these arrangements contribute to including women in the formal financial system, they fail to adopt the redistributive measures necessary to address the gendered socio-economic disadvantages that cause and reproduce financial exclusion.
By: Serena Natile
In this episode of Between the Lines. Serena Natile discusses her book, The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion, which critiques mobile money as part of a historical succession of finance solutions and puts forward a strategy for gender equality, arguing for a politics of redistribution to guide future digital financial inclusion projects.
Interviewing Serena is IDS Digital and Technology researcher Tony Roberts
By: Serena Natile
Guest Lecture Series, School of International Studies, University of Trento, Italy
‘Gender, Development and the Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial inclusion’
Over the last weeks, as a consequence of COVID-19 pandemic, digital technology has redefined the boundaries of our economic and social relations. Following a previous crisis, the financial meltdown of 2008, digital technology redefined access to finance and financial inclusion policies. Technology, however, is embedded in historical and contemporary asymmetries of power, gender, race and socioeconomic status which shape its capacity to address problems and bring about change. In this webinar I will examine how digital technology has reshaped the relationship between finance, gender and development, drawing on insights from my new book The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: Mobile Money, Gendered Walls (Routledge, 2020). The book brings together socio-legal enquiry and feminist political economy analysis to interrogate the narratives, institutions and governance of digital financial inclusion as a development strategy for gender equality, focusing on Kenya’s path-breaking mobile money project M-Pesa. It argues that although digital financial platforms, in line with the mainstream development project, have the potential to provide a variety of opportunities to women at the lower end of the income distribution, they fail to contribute to the redistribution of power and resources necessary to address the structural causes of financial exclusion, replicating or even exacerbating gender inequality.
The talk will be divided in three parts. The first part will illustrate the relationship between gender, development and financial inclusion, highlighting the colonial legacy of women’s financial exclusion and how development interventions have increasingly considered access to finance as an all-in-one fix for gender inequality. The second part will explain how the rise of digital financial technology reframed the development project without challenging its premises and narratives and resulting in the over-reliance on women’s unpaid work and solidarity networks. The last section will reflect on what it means for digital finance to embrace a politics of redistribution, also considering recent measures adopted to address the COVID-19 crisis.
By: Serena Natile
The current COVID-19 crisis has exposed the limits of our economic order, from precarious work to homelessness and marginalisation to the inequalities deriving from strained healthcare and privatised welfare systems to the over-reliance on gendered and racialised unpaid labour. The crisis, however, also provides an opportunity to reflect on the current state of things and reimagine the principles and structures defining and sustaining our World. Drawing on insights from her recent book 'The Exclusionary Politics of Digital Financial Inclusion: Mobile Money, Gendered Walls' (Routledge, 2020), Dr. Serena Natile examines the role of digital platforms in the current crisis and reflects on whether they can contribute to social justice via the redistribution of power, resources and responsibilities and how law and policy could be used to cultivate this aim.
By: Serena Natile
In this video, Serena Natile (Brunel Law), Celine Tan (Warwick Law) and Paolo Vargiu (Leicester Law) discuss how inequalities manifest in, and are exacerbated by, the COVID-19 pandemic, and how international economic law influences these realities.
Check out our article on international economic law and COVID-19 here: https://medium.com/iel-collective