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Politics and International Relations

Research in the Politics and International Relations subject area considers the complexity and connectedness of the political and international processes, practice and theories that shape our lives at local, national and global levels.

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Research Contact: Professor Matt Henn

Our research benefits from the coming together of colleagues from a variety of diverse backgrounds in the related disciplines of Politics and of International Relations; this offers considerable opportunities for us to engage in innovative and cross-disciplinary collaborative research projects. Our research is supported by the active engagement of students on our three MAs including on-line provision in collaboration with the publisher Wiley, as well as our very large group of PhD students.


Research interests in the subject area are coordinated under two research groups, although there is significant research collaboration across these teams;

The Citizenship, Democracy and Transformation research group. Contemporary democracies are at an important crossroads.  Recent trends suggest that there is an ongoing disconnect between citizens and democratic institutions and processes. Citizens seem to be increasingly frustrated by political elites.

Meanwhile, traditional and mainstream parties are facing important challenges in terms of how best to bridge the deepening divide from citizens and to cope with challenges from new, insurgent and anti-system parties and movements. At the same time, there exist fundamental social and ecological issues of a truly global nature, such as climate change and the relationship between the human and ‘more than human’ world. These require citizens, governments, parties, and non-governmental organisations to pose deeper political and ethical questions with the potential to generate transformational responses as we seek to move toward a sustainable democratic future.

The research conducted within the Citizenship, Democracy and Transformation group is conducted under two main research platforms, Citizens, Parties and Political Participation and Ethics, Ecology, Identity.

The International Security and Sustainability research group. Scholars in this group are interested in a wide variety of issues and themes related to aspects of security in politics and international relations. Contemporary events and processes are increasingly securitised in our globalising world, making it essential that we are able to understand and explain a range of inter-connected issues that will shape the future well-being and development of our communities.

Given the complexities of individual, communal and national security (and the problems of how these terms are defined) this research group draws together scholars with a wide range of subject expertise and regional specialisms to explore the following: terrorism, energy security, female security, resource scarcity, democracy (and the threats to it), political violence, nuclear technology proliferation, human security, migration, refugees and displaced people, climate change and related environmental issues, insurgency and civil wars; and radicalisation and counter-radicalisation.

The group is characterised by an eclectic range of theoretical and methodological approaches. No region is the sole focus of this group, although our scholars primarily focus on Europe, the post-Soviet space, the Indian sub-continent, and the Middle East and North Africa.

The International Security and Sustainability group’s research is conducted under two platforms: Insecurity, Political Violence and Change; and Security and Sustainability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Case Studies

The following Impact Case Studies are linked to this subject area:

Still need help?

Professor Matt Henn
+44 (0)115 848 8156