May 07

Rhodes reflects on political science at PSA

Professor Rod Rhodes was interviewed by PSA Chair Matthew Flinders at the recent PSA conference in Sheffield. Watch the video below to his thoughts on the past, present and future of political science.




Apr 22

Funding Success: Prime Ministerial Accountability to Parliament

Dr Alexandra Kelso, Associate Professor of Politics, has recently won Nuffield Foundation funding for a one-year research project examining ‘Prime Ministerial Accountability to Parliament’. The project, which will begin in June 2015, is in collaboration with Dr Mark Bennister (Canterbury Christ Church University) and Dr Phil Larkin (University of Canberra), and will examine the evidence sessions held by the House of Commons Liaison Committee with the Prime Minister, in order to analyse the scrutiny and accountability potential of these sessions. While Prime Minister’s Question Time gets a lot of media attention – and a lot of criticism – few are aware of these more low-profile accountability occasions through which the Prime Minister is asked very detailed questions about the government’s policies and decisions. The research will seek to illuminate this little understood area of parliamentary work.

The team will work closely with the parliamentary clerks and MPs involved with these evidence sessions, in order analyse their accountability contribution, and to provide recommendations for how this form of scrutiny might be improved. The project also involves national and international comparative work, to find similar examples of prime ministerial accountability in other political systems and to learn from them.

This is an exciting piece of research, which is positioned to make significant contributions to our understanding of both the limits and the possibilities of democratic accountability mechanisms. The Nuffield Foundation Open Door programme funds projects which scrutinise constitutional and legislative processes in order to identify opportunities for reform. For more details, see:

Apr 04

C2G2 Impact: National Voting Rights for Resident Non-Citizens in Luxembourg

Professor David Owen was invited to contribute to a debate on the issue of voting rights for resident-non-citizens in Luxembourg, held at the Chambre des Députés du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg on March 20-21. Hear his reflections on this debate over at here.

Mar 11

Fully-funded PhD Scholarship, “Fairness, Common Heritage and The International Seabed Authority”

The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) at the University of Southampton has been awarded a major grant to host a new Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship programme, ‘Understanding Maritime Futures: Opportunities, Challenges and Threats’, which will support at least 15 PhD students.

This particular scholarship will investigate how, from the point of view of justice, any funds from the exploitation of seabed resources should be shared. Though in the first instance a project in normative political theory, it would suit an individual willing to pursue a project bridging political theory, philosophy and law, and to develop some familiarity with the geology of seabed resources.

The successful applicant would be supervised by a team led by Professor Chris Armstrong, but spanning Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Law, with additional assistance from an expert in marine geology.

The Doctoral programme as a whole encourages applicants willing to:

  • employ a transdisciplinary approach to tackle an important societal challenge;
  • develop ideas which might inform national and international decision makers from government, business and civil society;
  • challenge public understanding and/or capture the public imagination.

The studentship will cover tuition fees for UK/EU applicants and provide a maintenance grant at a rate comparable with other UK Research Council studentships. The funding associated with this project is only available for EU/UK students.

Start date: September 2015

For informal advice, contact Professor Chris Armstrong, Politics and International Relations;


How to apply:

Candidates should apply using the standard online application form here:

You must make clear in your application that you wish to be considered for the SMMI scholarship, supervised by Professor Chris Armstrong in Politics and International Relations. Applications must be received by 30th March 2015.

Candidates will be shortlisted based on academic excellence and aptitude for inter-disciplinary research. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, and will be asked to provide, in advance of interviews, a ~1500 word response to either of these questions:

  • “What key principles should be considered for the future use of seabed mineral resources in the deep ocean?”


  • “What policy developments are required to make the oceans and seas ‘an enabling environment for development for the benefit of all’ (United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015)?”

Feb 12

PAIR 50th Anniversary Lecture on April 22nd: ‘Cops, Warriors and Revisionist Just War Theory’

Professor Chris Brown, London School of Economics

Wednesday 22nd April 6-7.30pm (58/1067, followed by wine reception).

Abstract: The English common law tradition distinguishes between the role of the police constable and the soldier; the former is an independent legal official, personally liable for his/her actions, while the latter is team player, acting under orders, subject only to the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC).  Recently both of these ideal types have come under threat. The militarisation of the police (‘warrior cops’) is a much commented upon phenomenon; less attention has been give to the rise of the ‘Cop Warrior’, where civilian standards of legal and moral responsibility are applied to soldiers in combat zones. Unlike the rise of the Warrior Cop, which happened in response to changing circumstances, the rise of the Cop Warrior is partly the product of shifts that have been defended in philosophical terms and promoted by revisionist just war theorists. These theorists understand war in terms of individual responsibility, subsuming the LOAC under general International Human Rights Law. This is a retrograde step; it loses contact with realities of warfare, and by rejecting the moral equivalence of combatants validates Carl Schmitt’s critique of just war thinking as encouraging a Manichean world-view.

Feb 11

Upcoming Workshop: Developments in Deliberative Democracy

We are delighted to present an international workshop on new directions and developments in deliberative democratic theory and research.  This half-day event brings together two high-profile academics from the world of deliberative democracy: John Dryzek (Canberra) and John Gastil (Penn State). The first session, provocatively titled ‘One Deliberative Process to Rule Them All’, will be led by John Gastil who will reflect on his ongoing research on the Citizen Initiative Review process in Oregon. The second session ‘Deliberative Democracy and the Agents of Global Justice’ will be led by John Dryzek. The workshop will be followed by a short reception.

The workshop is a partnership between the Centre for Citizenship. Globalisation and Governance (C2G2), Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and PDD Specialist Group.

Key details

Where: The Boardroom, the University of Westminster

When: 1-6 pm Saturday, March 28

How: Attendance is free but you must register in advance. To do so, click here.

Feb 05

PAIR 50th Anniversary Lecture on February 18th: ‘Life in an Age of Theocracy on the March’

Ronnie Beiner, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

Wednesday 18th February 6-7.30pm (58/1067, followed by wine reception).

Abstract: Human history is full of surprises. In 1989, one had decent reason to believe that the age of totalitarian ideologies was definitively over (or at least that it would be banished for many generations). Who would have expected a new totalitarian ideology to be a significant global player so soon? And who on earth would have predicted that ancient theocracy of all things would come to define the core of this new ideology? The purpose of this lecture is to sketch an account of what it means to be normatively committed to a secularist vision of social and political order, against the backdrop of a virtually relentless cascade of bad news associated with the challenges posed by toxic versions of theocracy.

Jan 20

C2G2 Impact this week

See Polling Observatory research cited in OfCom’s consultation of major political parties for 7 May 2015:

And Alix Kelso in The Conversation on the prospect of a hung parliament:

Jan 17

Grant success

Nestor Castaneda, Lecturer in Governance and Public Policy, has been awarded a Banco Santander – Latin America Fund grant to do research on tax politics in Colombia and Chile. He will be doing fieldwork in these countries this upcoming Summer 2015.

Jan 15

C2G2 in the news this week

Research by C2G2 Director Will Jennings on cost overruns in organising the Olympic Games were quoted in Time magazine this week. Other research by Will on competence and government featured in the Telegraph.

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