Professor Peter Burnham

Professor Peter Burnham

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Studies

Contact details

POLSIS - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


BA, PhD (Warwick)


  • British Politics
  • Methods II
  • Advanced Political Analysis

Postgraduate supervision

Experience as external examiner/assessor at a number of universities including Amsterdam, Cambridge, Manchester, Newcastle, York, London, Lancaster and Cardiff and supervision of 15 successful PhD students at Warwick working on themes as diverse as the restructuring of the state in Argentina in the 1990s, and contingency measures for sterling under Harold Wilson in the 1960s


Research Interests

British Politics (Historical Studies and Economic Policy)
Principal academic interests lie in the field of historical studies in IPE, with particular reference to theories of the state and theories of governing applied specifically to economic policymaking in Britain since 1945. This has produced single authored books on the politics of reconstruction in Britain (1990) and the British state’s approach to currency management in the 1950s (2003). Most recently this has led to publications, conference activity and keynote addresses on the theme of `Depoliticisation and New Labour’ (including ISA 2002; universities of Birmingham 2003, London 2004, Sheffield 2005 and 2006, York 2007, UEL 2007, Durham 2008, York, 2009). Current research focuses on the politics of monetary policy in Britain in the 1970s.

Radical International political Economy (IPE), State History
I have a longstanding interest in critical theories of international relations with particular reference to the tradition of radical political economy and have served, in various capacities, on the boards of journals including Capital and Class, Studies in Marxism and Historical Materialism. The most recent manifestation of this interest is the publication in 2006 of Global Restructuring, State, Capital and Labour (with Bieler, Bonefeld and Morton). My latest book, Class, Power and the State in Capitalist Society: Essays on Ralph Miliband (Palgrave, 2008) is a joint effort with Paul Wetherly (Leeds Met) and Clyde Barrow (Massachusetts) and arises out of the PSA Contemporary State Theory Specialist Group (that I co-convene with Wetherly) and which regularly holds panels at the PSA annual conference.

Research Methods (especially use of national archives and Bank of England archive)
2nd edition of Research Methods in Politics (with Wyn Grant, Zig Layton Henry and Karen Gilland) published in 2008 builds on earlier publications on the research process and links to activity with the ESRC Training Board



Co-authored with Wyn Grant, Z. Layton-Henry and K. Gilland-Lutz, Research Methods in Politics (London; Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), [Revised and updated second edition – first edition 2004] ISBN 13: 978-0-230-01985-0 (370 pages) hbk and pbk.

Co-editor  with C. Barrow and P. Wetherly (eds), Class, Power and the State in Capitalist Society (London; Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). ISBN 13: 978-0-230-00132-9 (260 pages).

Co-authored  with A. Bieler, W. Bonefeld and A. Morton, Global Restructuring, State, Capital and Labour: Contesting Neo-Gramscian Perspectives (London; Palgrave Macmillan IPE Series, 2006) ISBN 13: 978-1-4039-9232-1 (237 pages).

Remaking the Postwar World Economy: Robot and British Policy in the 1950s (London; Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 242 pages, ISBN 0-333-55725-5.

Editor, Surviving the Research Process in Politics: New Agendas in Postgraduate Education (London; Pinter, 1997) vii + 224 pages, ISBN 1- 85567-446-7 hbk and pbk

Co-authored with W. Bonefeld and A. Brown, A Major Crisis?: The Politics of Economic Policy in Britain in the 1990s (Aldershot; Dartmouth, 1995), vii + 240 pages, ISBN 1-85521-544-6 hbk and pbk.

The Political Economy of Postwar Reconstruction (London; Macmillan, 1990), xiv + 228 pages, ISBN 0-333-48289-1.

Selected refereed journal articles

`Class, capital and crisis: a return to fundamentals’, Political Studies Review, (in print, 2010).

`The politicisation of monetary policy-making in postwar Britain’, British Politics, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2007, pp. 395-419.

`Marxism, the state and British Politics’, British Politics, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2006, pp. 67-83.

`Depoliticisation; a reply to Buller and Flinders’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2006, pp. 

`New Labour and the politics of depoliticisation’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations Vol. 3, No. 2, June, 2001, pp. 127-149.

`Marx, international political economy and globalisation’, Capital and Class, Vol. 75, 2001, pp. 103-112.

(with T. Elger), `Labour, Globalization and the `Competition State’, Competition and Change, Vol. 5, 2001, pp. 245-267.

`Britain’s External Economic Policy in the early 1950s’, Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 11, No. 4, Winter, 2000, pp. 379-408.

`The Politics of Economic Management in the 1990s’, New Political Economy, Vol. 4, No. 1, March, 1999, pp. 37-54.

( with J. Bulpitt) `Operation Robot and the British Political Economy in the Early 1950s: The Politics of Market Strategies’, Contemporary British History, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring, 1999, pp. 1-31.

(with W. Bonefeld), `The Politics of Counter Inflationary Credibility in Britain 1990-1994’, Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 30, No. 1, March, 1998, pp. 32-52.

`Globalisation: States, Markets and Class Relations’, Historical Materialism, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1997, pp. 150-160.

 `Rearming for the Korean War: the impact of government policy on Leyland Motors and the British car industry', Contemporary Record, Vol. 9, No. 2, Autumn 1995, pp. 343-367.

 `Open marxism and vulgar international political economy', Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1994, pp.121-132.

 `Re-evaluating the Washington Loan Agreement: a revisionist view of the limits of postwar American power', Review of International Studies, Vol.18, No.3, July 1992, pp.241-259.

 `Neo-Gramscian hegemony and the international order', Capital and Class, Vol. 45, Autumn 1991, pp.73-93

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