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A selection of recent research outputs:

  • What does it mean to be truly free? Dr Maria Dimova-Cookson, Director of our Centre for Political Thought, offers a provocative answer in her new book, Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty (Routledge 2019).
  • Interested in covert intelligence operations and the history of Britain’s involvements in irregular warfare abroad? Read the new biography of David Smiley, one of the UK’s foremost exponents of irregular warfare, by Prof Clive Jones from Durham’s Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (IMEIS): The Clandestine Lives of Colonel David Smiley, Codenamed ‘Grin’ (Edinburgh, 2019).
  • What are the causes of electoral violence? And what can bring it to an end? Electoral violence plagues the modern world, but it is not a new phenomenon. Researchers at SGIA’s Centre for Institutions and Political Behaviour apply the rigour of quantitative political science in a study of violence in Britain in the nineteenth century to search for answers. Causes and Consequences of Electoral Violence: Evidence from England and Wales, 1832-1914 provides a detailed map of violence in Britain. Why not take a look at the interactive map produced by Dr Patrick Kuhn and his colleagues Dr Luke Blaxill, Dr Gidon Cohen, Dr Gary Huthinson, and Prof Nick Vivyan here:
  • What can labour NGOs do to help migrants moving into Chinese labour markets secure their rights? To find out, read Dr Małgorzata Jakimów’s new book, China’s Citizenship Challenge: Labour NGOs and the Struggle for Migrant Worker’s Rights (Manchester, 2021), described by a recent reviewer as ‘superb’ and as ‘essential reading’ for anyone working on the political economy of Xi’s China.
  • Interested in the politics of national borders and the regimes that decide on refugee and asylum status? Take a look at the work of our colleague, Dr Olga Demetriou, at the Durham Global Security Institute (DGSi), particularly her project with Dr Elizabeth Kirtsoglou in the Department of Anthropology on The Politics of Credibility at Durham’s Institute for Advanced Study.
  • What role did Britain play in laying the foundations for establishing the state of Israel? Read Dr Carly Beckerman’s new book, Unexpected State: British Politics and the Creation of Israel (Bloomington Indiana, 2021), to find out about how seemingly unrelated domestic and international political battles – to do with how wrangling in London around issues such as UK coalition feuds, party leadership battles, spending cuts, and riots in India – dominated British policy toward the territory. As Unexpected State shows, this left little room in British policy for considerations of Zionist or Palestinian interests and arguments to register.
  • What can so-called ‘ordinary people’ do when they find themselves caught up in conflict to push back against violence and build safe and peaceful spaces? More than you might think: to find out, take a look at the new book by the Durham Global Security Institute’s director, Prof Roger Mac Ginty, Everyday Peace: How So-Called Ordinary People can Disrupt Violent Conflict (Oxford, 2021). This work draws on the highly innovative Everyday Peace Indicators project founded by Prof Mac Ginty and Prof Pamina Firchow (Brandeis University).
  • What can political philosophy tell us about issues such as affirmative action, humanitarian intervention, immigration, and parental leave? To find out, take a look at Dr Elizabeth Kahn’s new book, Introducing Political Philosophy: A Policy-Driven Approach (Oxford 2021), co-authored with Dr Andrew Walton (Newcastle), William Abel (Senior Economist with the Bank of England), and Dr Tom Parr (Warwick).  
  • How should we think about and do politics in a supposedly ‘post-truth’ era? The vital importance of embracing the fact we live in an uncertain world of endless diversity and potential for change is central to Prof Ilan Zvi Baron’s book, How to Save Politics in a Post-Truth Era (Manchester, 2018).
  • How much faith should liberal societies place in the ability of free and open debate to achieve progress in human knowledge? These are among the questions raised by James Fitzjames Stephen’s major work, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (Oxford 2017), now available in a critical edition prepared by Prof Julia Stapleton. First appearing in 1873, Stephen’s book systematically attacked J S Mill’s now canonical views on liberty of speech. Against Mill's emphasis on freedom of discussion as the most effective means of addressing differences of thought and belief, Stephen argued that conflict could only be resolved by the exercise of force—physical and legal. The book was described by Sir Ernest Barker as 'the finest flowering of conservative thought in the latter half of the nineteenth century'.
  • What does legitimate armed resistance to foreign conquerors look like? What rules should freedom fighters follow? Is violence against an oppressive government ever justifiable? Prof Christopher Finlay, from our Centre for Political Thought, provides a systematic answer to questions about the morality of political violence in his book, Terrorism and the Right to Resist: A Theory of Just Revolutionary War (Cambridge, 2015).