Research projects

The research strategy of the Department concentrates upon the development of a vibrant and sustainable research culture, the publication of high-quality research and the targeting of external funding for our research.

Ongoing projects

CREST: Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (Oct 2015 - Oct 2018)

Description
The Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) is a national hub for understanding, countering and mitigating security threats. CREST brings together the UK's foremost expertise in understanding the psychological and social drivers of the threat, the skills and technologies that enable its effective investigation, and the protective security measures that help counter the threat in the first place.

Global Crises and What it Means to be German (Jan 2017 - Dec 2017)

Description
Global Crises will bring together the research completed during three previous DAAD-funded IGS research projects - Zeitgeist (2011-2012), Worldviews (2013-2014) and (Not) Made in Germany (2015-2016) - in order to explore the intersections between these different areas of work. The core foci of the three projects – what it means to be German today, how the German past influences contemporary politics, and how images of Germany are constructed from the outside – are considered alongside one another in order to develop a better understanding of how past, present, the national and the international interact in the construction of German identity in the twenty-first century. The research is structured around three key strands: 1) a panel discussion and workshop on German perceptions of the 'Brexit' referendum; 2) continuing professional development days for A-Level teachers of German; and 3) an international symposium around the theme of 'Global Crises and What it Means to be German'.

The Politics of Forced Migration in the Mediterranean: Interstate Bargaining and Issue-Linkage in Greece and Jordan (April 2017 - Sept 2018)

Description
This 18-month long project aims to understand how post-2011 forced displacement has affected the behavior of two key states in the region towards international actors.

Migration Diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean - Inter-State Politics of Population Mobility in the Middle East (April 2017 - March 2018)

Description
This yearlong project investigates how migratory flows across national borders have affected states' diplomatic interaction.

Towards a new (restraining) global consensus on the use of armed drones (Jan 2016 - June 2018)

Description
This project – supported by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Human Rights Initiative of the Open Society Foundations – aims at securing a new normative consensus that delegitimizes the use of armed drones for targeting killing outside of recognized war zones. Such a consensus does not exist within Europe, between Europe and the United States, nor globally.

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.

Understanding and managing intra-state territorial contestation: Iraq's disputed territories in comparative perspective (Jun 2015 - May 2018)

Description
The project will make a contribution to enhancing our knowledge and understanding of one of the most significant disputes in Iraq – the contestation of a large swathe of land known as the 'disputed territories' that lie to the south of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR) and that are administered by the Government of Iraq (GoI), with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) demanding their incorporation into the KR.

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

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.

Completed research projects

(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. Funding is sought to establish a high-profile academic network: (Not) Made in Germany: Imagining Germany from the Outside. 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.

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.

The Future of American Power (Jan 2013 - Dec 2014)

Description
This is an ESRC Seminar Series running in 2013-14, with the aim of bringing together scholars of internationally-leading calibre from the United States and the UK for five all-day events to discuss the nature, causes and consequences of changes in the United States' dominance in the international distribution of power.

The Challenges to Trust-Building in Nuclear Worlds (2009-2013)

Description
Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler received a 3-year ESRC / AHRC fellowship to pursue the Trust-building in Nuclear Worlds project as part of the Global Uncertainties programme, which brings together the activities of the UK's Research Councils to better integrate current investments and to develop and support new multi-disciplinary research in response to global security challenges.

Enhancing Strategic Analytical Capabilities in NATO Partner Countries (Jan 2014 - Dec 2014)

Description
The aim of this project is to contribute to building truly interactive and meaningful collaboration between academics from NATO and EU member states and partner countries in the Western Balkans and EaP area and to disseminate knowledge and understanding of current and new threats in these countries by promoting independent and critical thinking from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.

Security-Democracy Nexus in the Caucasus (CASCADE) (2014-2016)

Description
The CASCADE project will: 1.scrutinise Caucasian states and societies for the root causes of conflict and insecurity, 2.conduct synergetic research on democracy and security in the Caucasus, 3.analyse the links between the region and its wider neighbourhood, 4.provide forward-looking analysis on regional security and democratisation processes, and 5.develop a set of proposals on how the EU could enhance its role in the region.

Rising Powers and Interdependent Futures (2013-2015)

Description
This interdisciplinary project aims to map Russia's governance-related influences in the post-Soviet states in the 'common neighbourhood' with the EU.

The German Past and the Contemporary World: The domestic and foreign politics of memory (Jan 2013 - Dec 2014)

Description
The project aims to examine in detail the interaction beween collective memory, policy elaboration, and the personal remembering of different individuals and social groups. The project will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to consider the continuing impact of 20th-century German history, particularly the legacy of fascist and communist dictatorships, on 21st-century political decision-making.

Exploring the Role of the EU in Domestic Change in the Post-Soviet States (2011 - 13)

Description
The project seeks to answer the following question: 'What role does the European Union (EU) play in domestic change in the post-Soviet states'?

Delivering renewable energy under devolution (2011 - 13)

Description
The research starts at an exciting time with renewable energy forming a central role in UK energy policy and the politics of devolution entering a new phase following the 2010 General Election.

Innovative Teaching and Research through Academic Partnership (2010 - 13)

Description
The project will seek to develop innovative educational and research links between The University of Birmingham and the Kazakh-British Technical University.

Zeitgeist. What does it mean to be German in the 21st century? (2010 - 13)

Description
What does it mean to be German in the 21st century? To inherit a difficult history and be subject to national stereotypes — or much more than that? Zeitgeist investigates ideas and identity in an age of globalisation and multiculturalism. What does Germany mean to the rest of the world now? What do we make of a nation that merged two states into one, is home to the 2009 Nobel literary prizewinner, and has pursued the European project in all its cultural, political, and financial forms?

Male and Transgender Sex Work in the UK and Netherlands (2011 - 12)

Description
The proposed research seeks to contribute to academic and policy debates about commercial sex by advancing empirical and theoretical knowledge in the under-explored area of male and transgender sex work.

SEANERGY 2020 (2010 - 12)

Description
he project is targeted towards regional and national authorities, EU decision-makers, planners, regulators, transmission system operators and marine renewable energy project developers.

Locating Legitimacy: Peacebuilding and the Politics of Space (2009 - 12)

Description
This research seeks to contribute to this emergent literature by sharing the insights of civil society organisations regarding effective ways to engage the UNPBC to ensure that all activities and policies are formulated and implemented with an awareness of how gender matters in peacebuilding and reconstruction.

The Quest for Peace: A Biography of Abba Eban (2009 - 12)

Description
The objective of this project is to complete a single-authored research monograph about the life of Abba Eban and his pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace. This project aims to provide a multi-level analysis of Middle East peacemaking through a substantive biography of Eban, Israel's foremost statesman.

African Actvism in the World Trade Organisation (2007 - 12)

Description
The research seeks to identify and critically analyse the bargaining strategies of African states in the negotiating processes during the current Doha Round.

Negotiating worker identity under post-socialism: an ethnographic approach (2010 - 11)

Description
The project will theorise, and provide a basis for comparative evaluation of, the impact of neoliberalism on the working class outside the normal.

International Monetary Fund's Response to the Global Financial Crisis (2010 - 11)

Description
This research project will examine the response of the IMF to the global financial crisis, focusing specifically on an analysis and evaluation of changes to the IMF's lending practices.

Increasing UK Conflict Resolution Capacity (2010 - 11)

Description
Funded by the ESRC, this knowledge exchange project focuses on four key areas of conflict resolution capacity, identified in close consultation with key Whitehall stakeholders: early warning, conflict resolution, natural resources, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding.

The future of political opposition in Russia's managed democracy (2009 - 11)

Description
The research adds to the existing academic debate on democratisation and will be of direct interest to Western policy-makers at a time of worsening relations between the West and Russia and growing Western concern with the nature of Russian democracy.

Paradoxes and Contradictions in EU Democracy Promotion Efforts in the Middle East (2008 - 12)

Description
This research project seeks to cast empirical and theoretical light upon an increasingly important aspect of international politics: attempts by the 'West' to export democracy to other regions. While acknowledging that the European Union (EU) is not the only actor with a democratisation agenda for the Middle East and that there are strategic reasons for the EU's involvement in the region.

International Terrorism-post-9/11 Comparative Dynamics and Responses (2008 - 10)

Description
This project considers comparative responses to international terrorism post 9/11 and contributes to current debates over state responses to political violence.

The Treasury under New Labour since 1997: the evolution of a British Institution (2007 - 10)

Description
The study will produce a politico-administrative anatomy of HM Treasury, the UK's finance and economics ministry, in its five roles: as a central department, ministry of finance, economics ministry, domestic policy department, and agency of foreign economic policy. Its role since 1997 will be placed in historical, ideological and global contexts.

The International Monetary Fund and the Diffusion of Global Economic Norms (2005 - 10)

Description
The project will examine the changing responsibilities of the International Monetary Finance in the aftermath of the global credit crunch, as well as how the organisation is likely to continue to evolve in the future.

The European Union and Border Conflicts (2002 - 05)

Description
The project seeks to understand whether and how the EU, through integration and association, can help to transform the nature of borders from lines of conflict to lines of cooperation.

Interpreting International Relations / Interrogating Global Politics (2004 - 10)

Description
The project questions the foundations of meaning in the discipline of International Relations, gesturing towards the idea of global politics as a more appropriate frame of reference for the ever-changing contemporary world.

Narratives of Violence in the North Caucasus (2003 - 09)

Description
The aim of this project is to analyse political violence in the North Caucasus. Of particular interest is the way in which aspects of violence in the North Caucasus have inscribed narratives of identity and broader theoretical accounts of transversal politics.

Nefarious Criminal and Terrorist Uses of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (Apr 2016 - Apr 2017)

Description
The focus of this research project is to analyse the threat presented by the revolution in easy access to the air presented by the technological development of small and medium sized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "drones".

Birmingham Policy Commission VI: The Security Impact of Drones

Description
The sixth Birmingham Policy Commission examined the security implications for the British Government of drone technology, both civil and military. The Commission brought together leading academics from the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham with NGO experts and distinguished former public servants.