Doctoral Researchers at the ICCS

The ICCS maintains close links with a number of Doctoral Researchers throughout the College of Social Sciences.


Josh Baker is a doctoral researcher in the ICCS and POLSIS, as well as a research assistant in the Trust-Building and Conflict Transformation security cluster. In this role he is the research assistant on Professor Nicholas Wheeler's "Trust-Building in Nuclear Worlds" project, with particular emphasis on research surrounding the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Josh's PhD research looks at the United States-Iranian nuclear negotiations from 2002-2011, questioning the narrative of missed opportunities that has emerged from the literature and public debate on this issue. Although a number of authors and policy-makers have stated that opportunities were missed in these negotiations, none have been explicit in defining what a missed opportunity is or how one might be judged. By exploring a range of conceptual approaches to the notion of missed opportunities, Josh's research aims to determine whether missed opportunities did indeed occur, and if so to identify why.


Rhys Crilley is a doctoral researcher within POLSIS and is currently exploring how technology is impacting on understandings and practices of security by ‘western’ states and other non state actors such as terrorist organizations. His analysis will focus on how new technologies have blurred the gap “between the reality and virtuality of war” where violence appears to be becoming evermore virtualised. Rhys focuses on the virtualisation of violence through the representational practices of ‘western’ militaries that are lacking in academic interrogation, such as the use of war themed computer games as a way of recruitment and the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Technology is also being utilised by terrorist organisations, who use “network forms of organisation and related doctrines, strategies, and technologies attuned to the information age”. Rhys therefore intends to explore the representational practices of ‘terrorist’ organisations such as the use of the internet and information networks as a way of recruitment and the use of martyrdom/suicide attacks. He is investigating how the virtualisation of violence impacts on the construction of ‘enemies’ identities in global politics and will examine whether this is leading to a dehumanisation of conflict. Specifically, Rhys intend to explore the impact of these practices on understandings of legitimacy and authority in the 21st century, investigating how the virtualisation of violence legitimises and gives authority to certain actions


Lindsay Murch is a doctoral researcher in the ICCS and POLSIS and a research assistant in the developing field of drone warfare. Lindsay’s research starts with the premise that transnational civil society has played a role in the regulating and prohibiting of both anti-personnel mines (APMs) and Cluster munitions. It aims to discover what this role was and to ascertain if there are lessons from these cases that can be applied to the burgeoning campaign against the use of killer drones. By applying process tracing to the data gathered from these interviews, Lindsay aims to establish causal links, and their direction in order to establish how the literature on transnational civil society can contribute to our understanding of how new international norms develop. As drone technology is rapidly proliferating this case offers a unique opportunity to see how a norm develops through the efforts of bodies such as the International Committee for Robotic Arms Control (ICRAC), and to compare this with accounts of the development of norms against earlier weapons systems. 


Jonna Nyman is a doctoral researcher within POLSIS and is currently developing a critical empirical analysis of how central actors from China and the USA discursively constructed energy security from 2000 onwards. In particular, she interested in analysing the relationship between energy security discourses, (foreign) policy and bilateral relations through the adoption of a ‘critical constructivist’ approach to energy security. Her thesis aims to improve understandings of energy security in US-China relations through critical analysis, to make a theoretical and empirical contribution to security studies and the emerging field of critical energy security studies.