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Politics & International Studies (Peace Studies)

The area of Politics and International Studies predominantly covers the work of staff In Peace Studies – both in relation to conflict resolution and peace-building, as well as international relations and security studies. It also includes historians and some staff working on international development. There is a long tradition of Peace research at Bradford and the university has a very strong international reputation in this area. in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise the research environment and research esteem in this area was found to be exceptionally strong being judged to be 100% internationally excellent (3* and above).

Public Engagement & Impact

Following the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez March 5 th Dr Julia Buxton provided comments to a range of media including BBC Breakfast News, BBC World News, BBC World Service, Sky News, Radio Five Live, Russia Today, Radio France National and Radio Austria. Obituaries and reflections on Chavez’s legacy by Julia can be read below on New Internationalist, Open Democracy and the Latin America Bureau.

Hugo Chavez Reluctant Revolutionary (external link)

From bust to boom Chavezs Economi Legacy (external link)

Venezuela Sustainability will be the test of Chavismo (external link)

Dr Julia Buxton attended the Drugs and Development Policy workshop at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex in February, where the relationship between illicit narcotics and socio-economic development was explored

Global drug and development policy roundup (external link)

The links between drugs and socio economic (under) development was also considered at a second Open Society Foundation funded event convened by the Central European University in Budapest at the end of Feb. Julia participated in a panel discussion exploring the theme Drugs and Development: Punishing the Poor, with colleagues from United States Institute for Peace and the Observatory of Illicit Drug Crop Cultivation

Drugs and Development: Punishing the Poor (external link)

Julia will be returning to the Centre for Latin American Studies at Cambridge University in early March, to present a paper on gender and social mobilisation in Latin America.

2 day workshop at the Centre for Latin American Studies, Cambridge University, 11 - 12 January 2013

Dr Julia Buxton gave a paper at a 2 day workshop on Venezuelan energy policy at the Centre for Latin American Studies, Cambridge University, 11 - 12 January 2013

Dr Julia Buxton on the BBC World Service

Dr Julia Buxton was a guest on a half hour News Hour special on the BBC World Service on Saturday 5th January 2013 discussing the political situation in light of President Chavez's serious illness.

Professor Jenny Pearce spoke to women activitists in Huehuetenango at the presentation of a study by CEDFOG (Centre for Education and Documentation for the Western Frontier of Guatemala) on Violence against Women in San Miguel, Acatan

On 2 November, Professor Jenny Pearce presented a seminar to the Cambridge Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS) Open Seminar Series on: ‘“Violent Elites” and the reproduction of chronic violence in Latin America”


October 26 2011: Dr Neil Cooper gave a presentation at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute entitledHumanitarian Arms Control and the Post-Cold War Arms Trade Paradox’

A notable aspect of the Post-Cold War arms control agenda has been the appearance of what has been labelled as a humanitarian arms control agenda. This has included, in particular, the campaign on landmines that led to the 1997 Ottawa Convention, the campaign to ban cluster munitions that resulted in the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, a range of initiatives designed to control the trade in small arms and recent efforts to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty. It has been argued that such initiatives represent a departure from the traditional practices and foci of arms control as well as examples of the transformative power of global civil society campaigners working to operationalise a benevolent human security agenda.

In contrast, the presentation will suggest that contemporary initiatives on landmines and cluster munitions need to be contextualised as part of a much longer history of (a) regulation and taboos constructed around ‘pariah weapons’ and (b) the way dominant models of economy and geographies of threat construction have worked to produce particular approaches to arms trade regulation in different eras. A key contention with regards to the Post-Cold War era will be that it has been characterised by an (apparent) arms trade paradox,whereby the proliferation of formal instruments of international regulation, ostensibly designed to constrain the conventional arms trade, has also coincided with a shift to a more permissive approach to arms sales in general. Understood from this perspective, the humanitarian arms control agenda has had far more ambiguous effects than its supporters allow. Whilst it has certainly produced some notable arms control achievements, it has also served to reflect and reaffirm a new ‘new standard of civilisation’ centred around the distinction between discriminate and indiscriminate weapons and modes of warfare that are key elements in the legitimising discourse of both contemporary militarism and liberal peace intervention.


Frances Cleaver recently travelled to Maputo, Mozambique to the launch of a new action research network on Water Equity for Southern and Eastern Africa. The network is an initiative led by partners in Europe (University of Bradford in the United Kingdom; Wageningen and Unesco-IHE in the Netherlands, Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen) and in Africa (Universities of Malawi, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. )

The aim of the network is to form partnerships between academics, activists and practitioners to investigate and promote water equity. The network has been launched with seedcorn money from the Dutch government.


Securing access to water and its sustainable management are pressing challenges in the context of climate, socio-economic and political change. In international development policy there is a strong emphasis on ‘getting institutions right’ for good water governance.

But can collective action institutions like Water User Associations be designed to be both effective and inclusive?

Who shapes such institutional arrangements and how are rules of access and distribution adapted to changing conditions?

Who wins and who loses from these institutional arrangements?

Frances Cleaver and Tom Franks are addressing these questions through research in the multi-stakeholder Usangu plains in South –Western Tanzania. Here rice farmers, livestock keepers, fishermen and government authorities often have differing priorities over water use and management.

The project is funded by the British Academy Research Development Awards (BARDAs) and is being undertaken jointly with Tanzanian partners Faustin Maganga at the University of Dar es Salaam and Sikitiko Kapile of Pemconsult.

The research uses multi –methods to study how institutions have evolved over time, also drawing on baseline data collected by the researchers 1999-2001. The aim is to use this data to evaluate 2 contrasting schools of thought about institutional functioning.

‘Mainstream institutionalists claim that robust resource management institutions can be designed whilst ‘Critical –institutionalists’ think that institutions largely elude design, evolving in the dynamic processes of social life.

The explanatory power and implications for development policy of each approach are to be tested through this work.

Contact Frances Cleaver, Bradford Centre for International Development

Recent Publications

David Harris provides an insightful and nuanced focus on the deep history of governance in Sierra Leone — but his imaginative analyses are applicable well beyond that country alone. Sierra Leone uses the real history of governance in that country to expose the dangers of wishful thinking on the part of the international community while showing the real mechanisms through which governance in this and other post-conflict countries is really transformed.’ — Will Reno, Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University, and author of Warfare in Independent Africa

Sierra Leone came to world attention in the 1990s when a catastrophic civil war linked to the diamond trade was reported globally. This fleeting and particular interest, however, obscured two crucial processes in this small West African state. On the one hand, while the civil war was momentous, brutal and affected all Sierra Leoneans, it was also just one element in the long and faltering attempt to build a nation and state given the country’s immensely problematic pre-colonial and British colonial legacies. On the other, the aftermath of the war precipitated a huge international effort to construct a ‘liberal peace’, with mixed results, and thus made Sierra Leone a laboratory for post-Cold War interventions.

Sierra Leone examines 225 years of its history and fifty years of independence, placing state-society relations at the centre of an original and revealing investigation of those who have tried to rule or change Sierra Leone and its inhabitants and the responses engendered. It interweaves the historical narrative with sketches of politicians, anecdotes, the landscape and environment and key turning-points, alongside theoretical and other comparisons with the rest of Africa. It is a new contribution to the debate for those who already know Sierra Leone and a solid point of entry for those who wish to know.

The book was launched at the University of Bradford on the 12th November 2013 and King’s College London on the 22nd November.

Paso a Paso (Peace, Piece by Piece)

At the inauguration of the academic year at the University for Peace in Costa Rica this August, Adam Baird alumni (PhD 2011, Bradford Peace Studies Department) who is currently an Assistant Professor at the University presented the book Paz, Paso a Paso (Peace, Piece by Piece) to the Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla. Paz, Paso a Paso is an edited volume focusing on the Colombian conflict which brings together former and present Peace Studies Department students who have worked under the supervision of Professor Jenny Pearce. The book, and an ever-growing body of students whose research focuses on Colombia at the Peace Studies Department, is a reflection of the hard work over a number of years of Professor Pearce.

This book was launched by several students and Professor Pearce in Medellin and Bogota in July. The book is dedicated to Libby Kerr, a PhD student in Peace Studies, who sadly passed away last year, and also author of a chapter in the book.

Martyn Housden has recently completed a new book which will be published as part of Longman’s well known Seminar Series specialising in History texts. Its title is The League of Nations and the Organisation of Peace and it will be generally available from 14 November 2011. The book draws heavily on research carried out in the League of Nations Archive, in the UN Library, Geneva. It provides a revisionist view of the League of Nations, showing it to be a visionary organisation which (amongst other things) anticipated the UN’s security agenda for the new millennium—Human Security.

Earlier this year, Martyn Housden and David Smith published an edited collection of essays, Forgotten Pages of Baltic History. Diversity and Inclusion. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011. Already two of the essays have been translated into Latvian, and hopefully more translations will follow. Apart from being a wide-ranging collection of studies about the region’s History and Politics, Forgotten Pages is also a Festschrift for John Hiden, Emeritus Professor of Baltic Studies at the University of Bradford and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. The book will be launched at the Latvian Embassy, London.

A new book co-edited by Dr Neil Cooper (Peace Studies) and Dr David Mutimer (Centre for International and Security Studies, University of York, Toronto) has just been published by Routledge. The book was originally published as a special issue of the refereed journal Contemporary Security Policy and is the outcome of two conferences on ‘arms control for the 21st Century’ held in New York and Toronto. The book features contributions from leading critical thinkers on security and arms control. 

The theory and practice of arms control seemed to have its heyday during the height of the Cold War, with its focus on the East-West conflict and nuclear arms. In the past twenty years, both arms technologies and various practices aimed at their control have continued to develop, but scholarly thinking has not kept up. This volume seeks to redress this scholarly neglect of the range of issues associated with the control of the means of violence, by asking the question: what does arms control mean in the 21st Century? In asking this question, the volume examines issues surrounding sovereignty, geopolitics, nuclear disarmament, securitization of space, technological developments, human rights, the clearance of landmines, the regulation of small arms and the control of the black market for arms and nuclear secrets. The book discusses terrorism with reference to the case of the suicide attacks in Beirut in 1983 and how the Obama administration is orientating its posture on nuclear arms.

James Gregory, Victorians Against the Gallows. Capital Punishment and the Abolitionist Movement in Nineteenth Century Britain  (London and New York: I.B.Tauris, 2011)

Fiona  McCulloch's book Children's Literature in Context was published by Continuum Press in September 2011. She also has a forthcoming article with '"Different Backgrounds": Post-Devolution Citizenship and Community in Theresa Breslin’s Divided City’, in International Research in Children’s Literature, 4:2, Dec. 2011.

Grants & Awards

Grant awarded to Dr Fiona Macaulay

Fiona Macaulay has been awarded a grant of £20,175 by the British Council and the São Paulo state research council to run a two-day workshop in São Paulo on ‘Comparative Approaches to Security Sector Reform, with a special focus on the penal system’. It will bring together early career researchers working on security security reform, 20 from the UK and 20 from São Paulo state. The workshop’s focus is on career development, international collaboration, network building and peer mentoring. The grant is part of the British Council’s Researcher Links programme, which funded only one in eight of the proposals received in relation to Brazil. For more information see

Dr David Lewis and ESRC - funded project: 'Rising Powers and Conflict Management in Central Asia'

In a changing world order, a better understanding of the different ways that states try to manage violent conflict is increasingly important. A three-year ESRC-funded project (2012-2015) examines the divergent responses of Russia, China and the West to outbreaks of armed violence in post-Soviet Central Asia.

Central Asian states have been affected by a variety of internal violent conflicts since the 1990s. Local and external actors have frequently demonstrated very different understandings of the underlying causes of these conflicts and have adopted divergent and sometimes contradictory policies in response. This project aims to unravel the responses of national governments, local peoples and external powers, such as China, Russia and the US, to three significant outbreaks of violence in recent years: in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in 2005; in the Rasht valley of Tajikistan in 2010-11; and in Osh, Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

The research project involves a team of three academics from the universities of Exeter, Bradford, and Newcastle, working together with the London-based NGO Saferworld. The team will conduct research in China, Russia, and in Western and Central Asian states. This will consist of analysis of policy reports and other formal documents, interviews with a wide range of policy makers in the capitals of major powers and those directly affected by conflicts in the Central Asian region, and ethnographic study of conflict mediation programmes in practice.

Apart from a wide range of intended academic outputs, the project is designed to inform discussion among Russian, Chinese, Western and Central Asian policy makers about different ways to manage and resolve conflict, thus attempting to improve mutual understanding in a region of potential strategic competition and political volatility.

Grant awarded to Jenny Pearce

Jenny Pearce was awarded a grant in the AHRC/ESRC joint research councils programme, Connecting Communities. She will conduct a Scoping Review and Action Research Project on 'Power in Community'

This research and social action scoping review focuses on the role power plays in inter and intra community dynamics, where community-as-place remains a strong variable . It aims to review theoretical literature on power, case studies on patterns of exercising power in different communities and understandings of power within communities. It explores how power can be used to facilitate openness to change, connections with others and ability to access new opportunities, or conversely to conserve change resistant social structures, gatekeeping mentalities and conflictive interactions. It will generate propositions about power  (and powerlessness) in community and how these might  be translated into methodologies for co-reflection with communities aimed at enhancing agency for change as well as cooperation and connectivities within and between communities. It will pilot these methodologies in four socially and ethnically diverse communities in the north of England, exploring with people where power lies and what the state’s intention to ‘transfer power’ to communities might mean in practice. It draws on learning from the applicant’s previous field research in the north of England and a partnership with experienced practitioners in community empowerment, community organising and community dialogues.

REF Public Engagement and Impact Policy

REF (Research Excellence Framework) Public Engagement and Impact Policy for the Faculty of Social Sciences.


Impact is any benefit, change or effect felt outside academia stemming from research undertaken by staff in FoSS. Impact could be summarised as a benefit, change or effect to the thoughts and/or practices of non-academic users or stakeholders arising from the dissemination of research or research-informed types of public engagement. It can also include activity such as holding public or private bodies to account or subjecting proposed changes in society, public policy, business practices, and so on to public scrutiny. Such holding to account or public scrutiny may have had the effect of a proposed change not taking place, and this may of itself be claimed as impact or benefit. There may also be examples of research findings having been communicated to, but not necessarily acted upon, by the intended audience, but which nevertheless make a contribution to critical public debate.

Public engagement activity is research-informed activity designed to lead to demonstrable benefit, change or effect, but should not of itself be claimed as impact without evidence of some benefit, change or effect beyond the engagement activity itself.

FoSS Approach to Public Engagement and Impact

The aim of the Faculty’s policy in this area is to create a facilitating environment that will aid and encourage staff to maximise public engagement with their research (e.g. on the part of government, local authorities, the private sector, civil society or the media) in order to enhance the potential for research to:

  • Influence critical public debate
  • Benefit, change or effect the practices of non-academic users
  • School Policy is focussed on encouraging the following types of public engagement and impact activity
  • Training for outside bodies
  • Policy advice
  • Research-informed consultancy work
  • Membership of committees and advisory bodies
  • Provision of evidence to parliamentary committees
  • Support for secondments
  • Media activity

Impact Policy


  • Faculty Research Support Fund to include an allocation for impact activities
  • Annual Faculty Impact Activity award
  • Maintain existing allocation of workload points for KT work
  • Role of Faculty Research administrator (Chris Kelly) to include support for impact

Integrating Impact into Performance Criteria

  • Annual Research Monitoring Meetings to include evaluation of impact activity
  • Annual Performance meeting to include evaluation of impact activity

Monitoring and Reviewing Impact Performance

  • Develop School-wide Impact Monitoring System to collect data on impact
  • Institute regular review of impact data to inform further development of strategy

Advertising Impact Activities

  • Redesign website to highlight impact activities
  • Where relevant Faculty, Division and Research Centre websites to include sections on public engagement and impact