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Award for doctoral researcher

Congratulations to Elsa Bengtsson Meuller, doctoral student in Politics and International Relations, who has been awarded the Iris-Grant (Irisstipendiet) from the Iris Jonzén-Sandblom & Greta Jonzén’s Foundation in Sweden. The grant is awarded to women whose work will positively contribute to the lives of other women.

Elsa’s research explores feminist cybersecurity and analyses gender-based violence. She seeks to develop a feminist methodology for the study of anti-feminist online cultures. Her thesis will present a feminist online ethnography of the Manosphere.

Seminar Series: “Migration, Technologies & Postcolonial Genealogies” – Spring 2021

Continuing our seminar series “Migration, Technologies & Postcolonial Genealogies”, organised by Martina Tazzioli
 with the support of the Center for Postcolonial Studies, here are the details of speakers for Spring 20201 Term.

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Start time: 5 pm GMT
February 23: Huub Dijstelbloem (University of Amsterdam): “The techno-politics of Europe’s movable borders”
March 2: Anne Mc Mevin (The New School): “Statelessness Reconsidered: Black Lives, Abolition, and Border Justice”
March 9: William Walters (Carleton University): “The deportation plane”
March 15: Claudia Aradau (King’s College): “Governing borders through non-knowledge”

March 19: Shahram Khosravi (Stockholm University): “The stolen time of migration”

For further information, contact:

Interview: Prof Jasna Dragovic-Soso in Balkan Insight

Professor Jasna Dragovic-Soso was interviewed in December 2020 by Balkan Insight on the topic of the Kosovo Truth Commission. Click here to read the article.

Catch up with PERC Podcasts!

If you are interested in catching up with events at the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC), you can listen to our podcasts. Try either of the following links:

Soundcloud podcasts

Apple podcasts

Political Theology Seminar Series 2020-21

Political Theology Seminar Series 2020-21

New reflections on the sacred in contemporary politics

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Political theology is a broad and diverse series of investigations into the relationship between theology and politics, particularly the way that theological categories continue to underpin and inform, in oblique ways, modern secular political concepts, discourses, practices and institutions, such as sovereignty, the nation state and democracy. Political theology is fundamentally concerned with the problem of legitimacy and it refers to the absent place of the sacred in modern secular societies. As a mode of enquiry, it gives us an alternative framework and language in which to understand forms of political experience that cannot be adequately grasped by conventional political theory. Debates in political theology have been heavily influenced by the thought of Carl Schmitt, particularly his theory of the sovereign state of exception and the secularisation of theological categories into modern political and juridical concepts. However, new approaches to  political theology have sought to move beyond Schmitt’s conservative sovereign-centric paradigm, developing new ways of thinking about the economy, environmental concerns, social and racial justice struggles, and the role of religion and church organisations in public life, as well as drawing on other religious traditions such as Judaism and Islam. The question of the sacred and what it means today may also allow us to understand contemporary political phenomena, such as the rise of populism, post-secularism and the ‘return of religion’ in the public sphere, the significance of symbols in new forms of protest, the flourishing of conspiracy theories, and the new states of exception in the era of Covid-19.

This seminar series brings together a series of experts from different fields – political theory, continental philosophy, law and theology – to explore the intersections between the theological and the political.

Speakers include:

Professor Vincent Lloyd, Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University; Director of the Political Theology Network (Wed, 11 November 2020 – 6-7:30pm)

Professor Tina Beattie, Catholic Studies, University of Roehampton (Thurs 21 Jan 2021 – 6-7:30pm)

Dr. Peter Langford, Law, EdgeHill University (Wed 11 February 2021 – 6-7:30pm)

Professor Elettra Stimilli, Theoretical Philosophy, Sapienza Universita di Roma (Wed 4 March 2021 – 6-7:30pm)

Dr Eskander Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, Politics and IR, Goldsmiths University of London (Wed 6 May 2021 – 6-7:30pm)

Dr Michael Kirwan, Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin (Wed 27 Ma7 2021 – 6-7:30pm)

Dr Jeremy Kidwell, Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham (Wed 10 June 2021 – 6-7:30pm

Seminars will be held on-line (via MS Teams). Virtual attendance open to all

The series hosted by the Research Unit for Contemporary Political Theory (Department of Politics and IR, University of London).

Contact seminar convener and Director, Professor Saul Newman, for details on how to join:

‘Migration, Technologies & Postcolonial Genealogies’ online seminar series

Organised by Dr. Martina Tazzioli, with the support of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies (PoCo) and the Department of Politics & International Relations

Autumn Term

November 26: Veronica Gago (University of Buenos Aires)

December 3: Beste Isleyen and Polly Pallister-Wilkins (University of Amsterdam)

December 11:  Anne McNevin (New School)

Spring Term

January:  Shahram Khosravi (Stockholm University)

February: William Walters (Carleton University)

Huub Dijestelbloem (UVA)

March:     Claudia Aradau (King’s College)

Jasbir Puar (Rutdgers University)

For further info:


Funding for Elizabeth Evans on Disability and Politics

Photo of Elizabeth EvansCongratulations to Dr Elizabeth Evans, Reader in Politics, who has been awarded an ISRF Mid-Career Research Fellowship for a project on ‘Disability and Politics: Rethinking Representation’!

Here are the details of the project:

Theoretical approaches to political representation typically distinguish between three dimensions: descriptive representation, the similarity between elected representatives and the represented in terms of their characteristics and backgrounds; substantive representation, the reflection of citizens’ interests and opinions in the preferences of decision-makers and in the outputs of the policy-making process; and, symbolic representation, the effects that representatives have on the electorate. These dimensions have been analysed empirically, specifically in relation to gender and/or ethnicity, which has developed scholarly knowledge and the public understanding of political representation. However, there have been very few studies of disability as it relates to political representation, either at the theoretical or empirical level. This project brings together interdisciplinary disability scholarship with political theory and political science, in order to rethink political representation.

Debates and policies concerning accessibility and inclusion in politics often make reference to disability as one of a list of social groups, and yet to what extent do these proposals seriously reflect upon or engage with either the needs or interests of disabled people? Rather than simply adding disability into existing approaches to political representation, this project seeks to fundamentally rethink what we mean when we talk about political representation, interrogating the implicit, if not explicit, ableist assumptions that lie at its core, especially those concerning merit.

This project questions how a disability lens helps us rethink the three dimensions of political representation. How should we approach descriptive representation in relation to a heterogenous, and sometimes invisible, social group? For example, how do societal approaches to learning disabilities complicate debates concerning the politics of presence? The research will also interrogate the ways in which we conceive of the substantive representation of disabled people’s issues and interests. For example, how does the typically individualised, medicalised and paternalistic approach to disabled people affect the representation of their interests in the policy-making process? Finally, how should we approach symbolic representation in light of assorted impairments, and the porous nature of disability as a social category. For example, how does the varied nature of disability complicate the symbolic value attached to the actions of disabled politicians?

By developing theoretical approaches to political representation, this project questions how adequately existing dimensions of representation are able to respond to debates concerning the presence of disabled people in political institutions. It also examines the ways in which certain frames and narratives dominate the conceptualisation of group identities, issues and interests. This research therefore brings together normative political theory and political science with disability studies, to reimagine what political representation looks like for a heterogeneous social group who remain amongst the most marginalised (and sometimes invisible) in society.


Platform capitalism during COVID-19

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PERC, the Political Economy Research Centre, recently held a fascinating and well-attended webinar on platform capitalism and the current Covid-19 pandemic with presentations by Sandro Mezzadra (University of Bologna) and Will Davies (co-director of PERC). You can see the presentations by clicking here.

Governing Life through Technology, Connectivity and Humanitarianism (GLiTCH)

In 2020-22, Dr Martina Tazzioli will be participating in an ESRC funded grant alongside researchers at the universities of Durham and Leeds: ‘Governing Life through Technology, Connectivity and Humanitarianism’ or GLiTCH. Here is the official description:

“GLITCH examines how financial and digital technologies are transforming refugee governance and refugee live. Debit cards have radically changed humanitarian aid, tech start-ups and volunteers have produced apps and maps for refugees. How do digital technologies and financial tools change the relationships between financial actors, humanitarian  agencies and refugees? Which forms of value and data extraction are generated ? Are refugees transformed into techno-users while they are forced to protracted confinement and displacement ?

GLITCH investigates the increasing role of financial actors in migration governance. By Focusing on a multi-sited research which will include Greece, Jordan, Lebanon and the UK, the project aims to reveal emerging transformations in humanitarian outreach and the new barriers produced by them. Building on participatory co-produced research, project will benefit refugees, volunteers and hosting communities.”

Book Launch: Rebel Politics

On 30 October 2019 the Department of Politics and International Relations launched Dr David Brenner’s new book Rebel Politics: A Political Sociology of Armed Struggle in Myanmar’s Borderlands with a panel discussion on the changing dynamics of the civil war in Myanmar, one of the most entrenched armed conflicts in the world.

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Book launch of Rebel Politics

Based on long-term research inside the Kachin and Karen rebellions, Rebel Politics analyses the relations between rebel leaders, their rank-and-file, and local communities in the context of political and geopolitical transformations in Myanmar’s borderlands. Using ethnographic methods and social theory, it provides an insight into the hidden social dynamics of political violence, ethnic conflict and rebel governance. In doing so, the book explains how revolutionary elites capture and lose legitimacy within their own movements and how the internal politics of rebel movements drive wider dynamics of war and peace.

The book launch featured a roundtable discussion with David Brenner (Goldsmiths), Kai Htang Lashi (Kachin National Organisation), Lee Jones (Queen Mary University of London), and Shona Loong (University of Oxford). It was chaired by Sanjay Seth (Goldsmiths).

More information about Rebel Politics can be found here: