Research

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The School of Government and Society at the University of Birmingham is committed to the delivery of world-class research in political science and international studies. Established in 2008, the School comprises three Departments: Politics and International Studies (POLSIS); International Development (IDD) and Local Government Studies (INLOGOV).

A series of broad research themes underpin the research activities of the School.

Governance and the State
International Politics and Security Studies
Social and Political Theory
Comparative political systems and public policy

Current research projects across the School:

Comparative political theory of the Cold War (Sept 2015 – Jul 2018)

Comparative political theory of the Cold War (Sept 2015 – Jul 2018)
Description
This project intends to apply a new methodology for the study of political ideas in order to reread an event in contemporary history. The methodology is comparative political theory; the event is the Cold War. A view often expressed at present is that the Cold War 'is back', but this project suggests that the lessons of the original are still yet to be fully learned – the comparison in political ideas being the missing element.

The ideology of political reactionaries (Sept 2013 - Jul 2016)

The ideology of political reactionaries (Sept 2013 - Jul 2016)
Description
Reactionaries are a political breed still little understood. What do they share with the mainstream Right? Have they changed? Why are they still here? This project is trying to develop a more integrated theory of reactionary ideology than is currently on offer – in particular, by using an analytical perspective focussed on rhetoric.

Select Committee Data Archive Project, 1979-Present (Mar 2015 - Sept 2016)

Select Committee Data Archive Project, 1979-Present (Mar 2015 - Sept 2016)
Description
The project will utilise quantitative methods to create and analyse a comprehensive dataset covering the membership, activities and outputs of Select Committees of the House of Commons from 1979 (the date of previous major reform) to the present in order to permit an evidence-based evaluation of the Wright reforms, as well as providing a valuable resource for understanding this vital venue for executive-legislative interaction and for parliamentary involvement in the development and scrutiny of policy.

(Not) Made in Germany? Imagining Germany from the Outside (Jan 2015 - Dec 2016)

(Not) Made in Germany? Imagining Germany from the Outside (Jan 2015 - Dec 2016)
Description
Through this project the IGS Birmingham will consolidate and expand its role as a primary hub for the support and inspiration of German Studies in the United Kingdom, as well as its reputation as a leading global research centre. The network will bring staff and postgraduate students from German universities and the worldwide DAAD German Studies Centres to the IGS in a series of five research visits focused around the core themes of the project.

Network governance and low carbon transitions in European cities (Nov 2014 - Oct 2017)

Network governance and low carbon transitions in European cities (Nov 2014 - Oct 2017)
Description
How can European cities transition to a low carbon future? What are the governance challenges in creating environmentally sustainable cities? Can ideas about 'network governance' enhance adaption to climate change by improving interaction between citizens, businesses, associations and governments?

More research projects throughout the school

Latest research news

Blog: Do 'sticky' institutions always survive? The demise of the Audit Commission

Blog: Do 'sticky' institutions always survive? The demise of the Audit Commission
Description
Written by Katherine Tonkiss. "The Audit Commission played a central role in the audit, inspection, performance improvement and regulation of local authorities (and other public service providers) in England for over thirty years. Operating at arm's length from government, it thrived under the efficiency and performance improvement agendas of successive Conservative and Labour governments, growing into a large and powerful public body."
Date:
Wednesday 24th June 2015

Blog: Prizes for local government: Latin America or England?

Blog: Prizes for local government: Latin America or England?
Description
Written by Dr Andrew Nickson. Last week I was in Panama City to deliver the inaugural address at the 2nd Latin American seminar on good practices in municipal management. My topic was the challenges of sub-national governance in the region, after thirty years during which local political democracy has gradually become the norm, accompanied by a growing share of fiscal revenue devolved to local government.
Date:
Monday 22nd June 2015

Syria's opposition is trapped in a life-threatening fuel crisis

Syria's opposition is trapped in a life-threatening fuel crisis
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. With both Islamic State and Assad cutting off its fuel supplies, the Syrian opposition is struggling to survive.
Date:
Monday 22nd June 2015

More research news throughout the School of Government and Society.

Departmental research:

International Development Department (IDD)

Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV)

Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS)

Research centres:

Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS)

Institute for German Studies (IGS)

GSDRC