Research projects

The combination of disciplinary strength and interdisciplinary effectiveness across the School allows colleagues to develop collaborative teaching and research projects, to generate research income and to further develop effective knowledge transfer activities. The research projects below, are listed by department.

Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS)

Current projects

What happened to the multicultural city? Effects of nativism and austerity (Sept 2018 – Aug 2022)

Lead academicDr Licia Cianetti  

This project – supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship - investigates how four European cities that have nominally embraced the 'multicultural' label govern their multiculturalism in practice, under the double pressure of nativism and austerity. It looks at the working and evolution of equality and inclusion departments in city councils in Birmingham, Lisbon, Riga and Turin to better understand how inclusive institutions are made and unmade over time.  

The project uses an innovative multimethod approach that combines process-tracing, policy analysis, discourse analysis, and ethnography-inspired collaborations with local artists. The academic-artist collaboration has resulted in a collaborative multimedia output.

Output: Cianetti, L. 2020. Governing the Multicultural City: Europe’s ‘Great Urban Expectations’ Facing Austerity and Resurgent Nativism. Urban Studies 

What Makes America Great? National esteem, grand strategy and intra-state ideological contest (Sep 2019 – Dec 2023) 

Lead academic: Adam Quinn 

This project is supported by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation. It is a study of the contest of ideas between American intellectuals focused on US grand strategy. More specifically, it focuses on the clash of worldviews between American intellectuals who embrace ‘liberal order’ as the central concept of US strategy, and critics who offer a ‘realist’ counterpoint. Much of the project is conceptual, aiming to generate a new framework for analysing the topic that synthesises elements of theoretical literature on international relations, grand strategy, ideology, nationalism, status and self-esteem. It also involves some empirical field research, in the form of interviews with relevant intellectuals working at think tanks and universities in the United States. The intended outputs from the project are a book and a series of articles.

Gendering Europe: British national identity from EEC accession to EU secession

 Lead researcher: Dr Charlotte Galpin 

This project seeks to create a new understanding of (Anglo-) British national identity during the UK’s EEC/EU membership by analysing the role of gender and its intersections with sexuality, class and race. ‘Europe’ has functioned as an ‘external Other’ against which national identity has been constructed. However, existing literature overlooks the significant body of feminist work on gender and national identity. Using a feminist methodology that uncovers dominant and marginalised identity narratives, Gendering Europe argues that two phenomena usually imagined as separate – Britain’s shift towards/away from Europe, and struggles over gender, sexual and racial equality – are actually deeply intertwined.

Workers between Precarity and Ecological Crisis in Chile and Italy (May 2021 – April 2024)

Lead academic: Dr Lorenzo Feltrin 

This project – supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship – focuses on the relationship between workplace-centred and community-centred mobilisations around 'noxiousness', that is, production-induced health damage and environmental degradation. Despite widespread assumptions on workers as environmentally regressive, they bear little responsibility for environmental degradation while being highly affected by it. Workers thus have an interest in the defence of the environment and have in many instances acted upon it, yet the need to protect employment and job security often remains an obstacle to working-class environmentalism. This research explores how different affected organisations address such dilemma and envision alternatives to it. For further details, contact Dr Lorenzo Feltrin 

Queering the census: LGBT advocacy and the inclusion of a sexual orientation question in the 2021 UK census (April 2020 – September 2022) 

Lead researcher: Dr Laurence Cooley 

This project – supported by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant – investigates the role of organisations representing LGBT+ people in successfully advocating for the addition of a question about sexual orientation to the 2021/22 censuses of England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Through document analysis and interviews with census officials and LGBT+ organisations involved in advocating for the addition of the sexual orientation question, the project explores these advocacy efforts and strategies and analyses how activists navigated tensions between the perceived practical and symbolic importance of recognising LGBT+ identities in the census on the one hand, and concerns about privacy and the difficulty of enumerating potentially fluid sexual identities on the other. For further details, please see the project page.

Completed research projects

The International Politics of Middle East Migration: Problems, Policy, Practice (March 2018 - March 2019)

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

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

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

Sovereignties of Birmingham (2017)

Nuclear Ethics and Global Security: Reforming the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime (2017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birmingham Policy Commission VI: The Security Impact of Drones

The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States (Oct 2013 - Sept 2015)

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

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

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

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

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

Inclusive Responses to SGBV and HIV in Humanitarian Crises

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

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

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

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

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

Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV)

International Development Department (IDD)

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