Our research divisions
As one of the largest departments in Europe we have researchers working in
many areas of political science research. Our research focuses on central themes
which provide a structure to our divisions:
Parties, elections, public opinion and political
The division conducts research on party positions, electoral strategies,
political preferences and public opinion, and political behaviour. We are one of
the leading departments in research on the UK’s party system and elections – the
British election study was located at Essex between 2002 and 2012.
We also study the mutual influences between parties and voters and the
conditions that shape these influences, partisan strategies in proportional
electoral systems, the influence of public opinion on the decision to intervene
into the Syria conflict, and so on.
Dr John Bartle
- Voting behaviour
- British political parties
- The British Judiciary
Professor Lawrence Ezrow
- Comparative political representation
- Western European politics
- Elections, political parties, voting, party strategies, political
- Quantitative methodologies
Lawrence Ezrow is the author of Linking Citizens and Parties: How Electoral
Systems Matter for Political Representation (Oxford University Press, 2010). He
has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, British
Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of
Politics, World Politics, and other ISI indexed peer-reviewed journals. He has
held a research grant from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC),
and he received the Best Article Award, with James Adams and Zeynep Somer-Topcu,
for the best article appearing in the American Journal of Political Science in
2011 (for their paper "Is Anybody Listening? Evidence That Voters Do Not Respond
to European Parties' Policy Statements During Elections").
Dr Rob Johns
- Political (and specifically electoral) behaviour
- Public opinion and political psychology (especially the nature, structure
and impact of attitudes)
- Research methods and survey methodology
Rob Johns's research and teaching is about public opinion. In particular, Rob
applies insights from psychology to understand what people think and feel about
politics, and to improve survey measurement of those political attitudes. Within
this broad focus, Rob has addressed diverse questions in diverse contexts: Why
do extreme right voters feel more European than the average European citizen? Do
people care about civilian as well as military casualties in war? How do voters
decide whether the government is responsible for policy outcomes? Why are men
disproportionately likely to favour Scottish independence?
Research addressing these and other questions has been published in books and
in leading political science journals. Reflecting his interest in public
opinion, Rob has taught general and more specialized courses in the design and
analysis of surveys, including a course at the Essex Summer School. John Bartle
is a Reader in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. His
research interest lie in the fields of voting behaviour, public opinion,
political representation and political parties. He has authored articles in the
British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, Party Politics,
Political Studies and the Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parliamentary
Affairs. He was a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow 1997-2000 and has held
research grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council.
Dr Tom Quinn
- Executive-legislative relations in Westminster-type systems
- British political parties
- Political party organisation
- Political institutions
- Rational choice theory
- British politics
Professor David Sanders
- British Election Study
- Political participation
- Election forecasting
- Politics of UK public sector
- Measuring and assessing European citizenship
David Sanders applies empirical methods to a range of problems in political
science, focusing particularly on elections and the evolution of public opinion
across Europe. His more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and 8 books
span comparative politics, UK politics, international relations and foreign
policy. His work on opinion polling has helped to legimitise the use of internet
polling methods in the UK. He has advised political parties of both the
centre-right and the centre-left (though not simultaneously) on strategies for
improving their electoral performance. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and
is currently chair of its Politics and International Relations Section.
Professor Paul Whiteley
Government "Magic numbers" - Professor Paul Whiteley from
University of Essex on Vimeo.
- British Election Study
- British political parties
- Electoral behaviour
- Political economy
- Comparative analysis of citizenship and social capital
Paul currently serves as the Director of the National Evaluation of Policy
Monitor and also the Essex Centre for the Study of Integrity. His research
interests include electoral behaviour, public opinion, political parties,
political economy, and methodology in the social sciences. He is a Fellow of the
British Academy and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences. He has
held previous appointments at the Universities of Sheffield, Bristol, Arizona
and the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He is the author or co-author
of eighteen academic books including studies of electoral behaviour in Britain,
the grassroots Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties, and
citizenship in Britain. He has published more than 110 academic journal
His research has influenced the organisational structure and campaign
activities of the major political parties in Britain, and his work on
citizenship has influenced government policies about the content of the
curriculum on citizenship education in secondary schools. He was director of the
Economic and Social Research Council Research Programme on Democracy and
Participation from 1998-2003 and was the co-director of the British Election
Study from 2001 to 2012. He has acted as an academic advisor to the Home Office,
to the Department of Education and to the Speaker of the House of Commons on
issue relating to citizenship, participation and Parliamentary representation.
He is a regular contributor to politics programmes on television and radio and
has written numerous columns for newspapers such as the Guardian and the
International politics and conflict resolution
The division focuses on international relations, spanning topics from
conflict, peace, and security to international political economy. A distinctive
feature of our orientation is an emphasis on the commonalities between all forms
of politics, whether within states or between states, and the interrelationship
between international relations and domestic politics and institutions.
For example, we analyse foreign policy decision making, multilateral military
cooperation, conflict resolution techniques such as mediation and international
peacekeeping, civil wars, failed states, and terrorism, international
development, international security and international political economy.
Dr Phil Arena
- Conflict Processes
- Domestic Politics and International Relations
- Formal Theory
- International Cooperation
- Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models
Dr Tobias Böhmelt
Tobias is a Lecturer in the Department and a Research Associate of the
International Political Economy Group at the Center for Comparative and
International Studies (CIS) as well as the Institute for Environmental Decisions
(IED). His main research and teaching interests are the quantitative analysis of
conflict and cooperation, environmental politics, international mediation,
military effectiveness, and social network analysis.
Dr Daina Chiba
Daina is a Lecturer in the Department. A graduate of Rice University, he
completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University. His research interests
encompass the areas of militarised conflict, international institutions, and
political methodology. His work has appeared or will appear shortly in the
American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Conflict Resolution.
Professor Han Dorussen
- EU-Japan security relations
- Trade and conflict
- Burden-sharing and regional security
- Policy convergence in the European Union
Han Dorussen currently serves as the Division Director of International
Relations and as the Acting Head of Department. He is associate editor for the
Journal of Peace Research. Dorussen conducts theoretical and empirical research
in international relations, conflict resolution and international and
comparative political economy.
Dorussen has (co-)authored more than 30 articles on the relationship between
trade and conflict, the use of economic policies in international politics,
peacekeeping operations and the governance of post-conflict societies, and
policy convergence and burden sharing in the European Union. The articles were
published in Public Choice, International Organization, World Politics, Journal
of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, a.o. He has also co-edited a
book on Economic Voting (Routledge 2002).
Dorussen is a member of the working groups on peacekeeping and security
sector reform of the Folke Bernadotte Academcy, Sweden. He has participated in a
number of EU Framework programmes and is currently the Essex lead person in the
EU-JAMM project stimulating education exchange between Europe and Japan.
Dr Natasha Ezrow
- US foreign policy
- Traditional theories of international relations
- East Asia
- Latin America
Natasha Ezrow (Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara, 2002) is a Senior Lecturer in the
Department. She teaches courses in Middle East Politics, African Politics,
International Development, International Relations and Latin American Politics.
She has been teaching at for over ten years and has taught in the United States,
the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
In addition to teaching, she also coordinated the United Nations (UN)
International Student Conferences in Amsterdam, the largest Model UN Conferences
in the Netherlands for several years and currently coordinates the annual
Student Political Science Conference at the University of Essex.
Dr Ezrow specializes in authoritarian politics, corruption and institutional
decay, with a focus on the politics of the Asia, the Middle East and Africa. She
recently has co-authored several books on dictatorships and failed states and
has a forthcoming book on development.
Dr Anna Getmansky
- Quantitative analysis of conflict and cooperation
- Intrastate Conflicts
- Democracy and War
The main focus of Anna Getmansky's research is understanding the sources,
management, and consequences of intrastate and interstate conflicts. In
particular, she is interested in the relationship between domestic political
institutions and conflict. She has studied these topics cross-nationally, as
well as in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Recently, she has
been working on these issues also in the context of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Her secondary area of interest in nuclear cooperation, and especially the
role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Anna Getmansky's research
is published in the
American Political Science
Journal of Conflict Resolution and the
Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies.
Professor Ismene Gizelis
- International conflict and cooperation
- Peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction
- Gender and conflict resolution
- Comparative political economy
Theodora-Ismene Gizelis is the author of Globalization, Integration, and the
Future of European Welfare States (Manchester University Press, 2010) and
articles in Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Science and Medicine, Journal
of Peace Research, Political Geography, International Interactions, Journal of
Economic Development and Cultural Change, and Conflict and Cooperation.
She was the guest co-editor (together with Louise Olsson) of International
Interactions (2013) on "A Systematic Understanding of Gender, Peace and Security
– Implementing UNSCR 1325."
Professor Kristian Skrede Gleditsch
- Conflict and cooperation
- Spatial dimensions of social and political processes
- Mathematical models in the social sciences
Kristian Skrede Gleditsch is Professor in the Department and a research
associate of the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). His
research interest includes violent and nonviolent conflict, democratization, and
spatial dimensions of social and political processes. He is the author of All
International Politics is Local: The Diffusion of Conflict, Integration, and
Democratization (University of Michigan Press, 2002), Spatial Regression Models
(Sage, 2008, with Michael D. Ward), Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War
(Cambridge University Press, 2013, with Lars-Erik Cederman and Halvard Buhaug),
and over 40 journal articles in ISI indexed peer-reviewed journals.
He is the winner of the 2012 American Political Science Association's Heinz
I. Eulau Award, the 2007 International Studies Association's Karl Deutsch Award,
and the 2000 American Political Science Association's Helen Dwight Reid Award.
He has held research grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council,
the European Science Foundation, the European Research Council, the Research
Council of Norway, and the US National Science Foundation.
Professor Emil Kirchner
- EU-Japan security relations
- European integration
- European security policy
- EU decision making
- German politics
- Political parties and European integration
International and comparative political economics
The division is primarily interested in political institutions and how they
determine public policies and political outcomes. For instance, we are
interested in the institutional determinants of policy learning, the influence
of social welfare benefits on the political response to tax competition, the
partisan influence on 'green taxes', or the relevance of political institutions
for mortality during and after natural disasters.
We approach political economy from an empirical perspective. We place an
emphasis on the understanding of the causes and consequences of political
processes and outcomes.
Dr Simone Dietrich
Simone Dietrich is Senior Lecturer in the Department, and Director of
ESSExLab. Her research interests are in International and Comparative Political
Economy, as well as Democratization and Development.
Simone’s research is motivated by a number of substantive questions. What
makes foreign aid effective at helping countries develop? How does foreign aid
affect citizen attitudes in aid-receiving countries? Under what conditions does
foreign aid shape democratic change abroad? Why do rich countries differ
markedly in their foreign aid delivery strategies abroad?
Her approach to studying these questions is based on a multi-methods
approach. I employ cross-country time series analysis, individual-level survey
data, and field and survey experiments. I also rely on insights generated by
case study analysis and extensive, open-ended interviews with foreign aid elites
and aid beneficiaries.
Simone’s research is published or forthcoming in International Organization,
Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Experimental
Social Science, World Development, European Journal of Development Research, and
Oxford University Press.
Prior to joining Essex, Simone was Assistant Professor of Political Science
at the University of Missouri, where she also held an appointment at the Truman
School of Public Affairs. Before arriving in Missouri, she was a Postdoctoral
Research Associate at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at
Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at
Pennsylvania State University in 2011.
Dr Alejandro Quiroz Flores
- International security
- War initiation and duration
- Links to domestic politics
- Survival analysis and copula functions
- Natural disasters
Alejandro Quiroz Flores is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department
and manager of the Department's Comparative Politics Division. He specializes in
Political Economy and Political Methodology. His research concentrates on the
political effects of natural disasters, as well as political survival. His work
has appeared at the British Journal of Political Science, International Studies
Quarterly, Economics and Politics, Conflict Management and Peace Science, and
Foreign Policy Analysis. He has also contributed articles to Foreign Affairs on
natural disasters and disaster aid.
Dr Marius Radean
Dr Radean is a Lecturer in the Department. His research interests include
democratic regime stability, democratic processes and representation, electoral
systems and political parties, and political methodology. His work has been
published in the Journal of Politics. He teaches classes on current threats to
The topics covered range from ideological alternatives to democratic forms of
government, such as authoritarianism with its variety of regimes and
institutions, to common political practices in democracy, such as corruption and
party switching. The latter sap democracy from within by undermining government
performance and eroding public trust in democratic institutions.
Dr Gina Reinhardt
- International Development
- Disaster Mitigation and Management
- Trust and Uncertainty
- Policy Evaluation
- Organizational Management
Dr Gina Yannitell Reinhardt came to Essex from the Bush School of Government
at Texas A and M University in 2015. She earned her undergraduate degree in
international studies at Rhodes College and her master’s and doctorate in
political science at Washington University in St. Louis (2005). Reinhardt also
studied Japanese language, culture, and literature at Kansai Gaidai in Hirakata,
The overarching questions driving Gina’s research relate to how people make
decisions with incomplete, imperfect, or asymmetric information, and how those
decisions affect the distribution of wealth in society. These questions have led
her to a range of research topics, including the political economy of foreign
aid, economic and social development, and the political and policy implications
of disasters. Dr Reinhardt has also studied race, trust, and migration; the
construction of trust by the media across levels of government; and how the
allocation of foreign aid conditions its performance effectiveness.
Reinhardt is a member of the prestigious AidData Research Consortium (ARC)
and a recipient of funding from the American Association of University Women and
the US National Science Foundation. Fluent in Portuguese, she has conducted
research around the world, including Japan, Nicaragua, Portugal, Spain, and
Brazil. In 2011, Reinhardt received the Bush School’s Silver Star Award for
Outstanding Dedication and Teaching. Her work has been published in Political
Analysis, World Development, Journal of Theoretical Politics, PS: Political
Science and Politics, and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
Professor Jonathan Slapin
- Comparative Political Institutions
- Parties and legislatures
- Research Methods and Quantitative Content Analysis
- European Politics and European Integration
Professor Slapin's research and teaching explore how electoral and
legislative institutions affect party politics, political competition, and
representation in democracies. In particular, his work focuses on European
politics and integration. He has published numerous articles in the discipline’s
leading journals and he has authored two books.
His most recent book, "The Politics of Parliamentary Debate: Parties, Rebels
and Representation", was published by Cambridge University Press. He also serves
on the editorial board of three international journals focusing on European
politics and legislative institutions. He regularly teaches courses on European
politics, European integration, and research methods, including a course on
quantitative content analysis at the Essex Summer School.
Professor Hugh Ward
- Comparative and international environmental politics
- International conflict
- Political economy
Hugh has published 50 single and co-authored articles in refereed journals,
has edited a volume of inter-disciplinary studies of sustainability, and
published numerous single and co-authored chapters in edited volumes. He is
Co-Editor of the British Journal of Political Science. Currently he is a member
of the editorial boards of the Journal of Theoretical Politics, Political
Studies, Environmental Politics, and Global Environmental Politics.
Political theory and discourse
The division combines research in ideology and discourse analysis and
analytic political theory. The research areas and expertise of political theory
staff cover a vast array of topics, ranging from the history of political
thought to normative policy analysis, from discourse theory to normative social
For instance, we are interest in whether disgorging the benefits of
historical wrongdoing is an attractive strategy, the relevance of inscription
for democratic theory and practice, the ethics of childcare benefits and
subsidies, and the consequences of volcanic activity on the risk assessment of
Dr Paul Bou-Habib (on research leave until Autumn 2017)
Paul is a Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department. His research
interests are mainly focused on contemporary theories of social justice. These
interests include the normative evaluation of economic regimes, as well as more
specific issues, such as the relationship between the institution of the family
and equality of opportunity.
He has published articles in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Politics,
Philosophy and Economics, and many other journals. He has held research grants
from the British Academy, The Leverhulme Trust, and the Society for Applied
Dr James Christensen
- Analytical Political Theory
James is a Lecturer in Political Theory. His research interests lie in the field
of analytical political theory. He is especially interested in debates about
global justice, and his most recent work addresses normative questions regarding
international trade. He has published in a number of peer-reviewed journals
including the Journal of Political Philosophy and Social Theory and Practice.
James teaches courses on ethics and public policy, human rights, and global
justice. Prior to joining the Department of Government, he st udied and taught
political theory at the University of Oxford.
Professor Michael Freeman (Emeritus Professor)
- The theory and practice of human rights, especially world poverty as a
problem of human rights and global justice
Michael Freeman is a Research Professor and part-time lecturer. He has
published or edited books on Edmund Burke, contemporary political theory,
minority rights and human rights. His latest book is Human Rights: An
Interdisciplinary Approach (Polity Press, second edition, 2011).
He has published more than 60 papers on a wide range of topics in political
theory and human rights, and lectured in more than 20 countries, from Japan and
China to Brazil and Mexico, from Sweden to South Africa.
He is a former Chair of the Human Rights Research Committee of the
International Political Science Association and of the Council of the British
Section of Amnesty International. He is currently a member of the Board of
Overseers, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut.
Dr Jason Glynos (on Research Leave 2016/2017)
- Political philosophy
- Post-structural approaches
- Lacanian and post-Marxist discourse theories
- Theories of democracy and ideology
- Cultures and discourses of the economy
Jason teaches political theory in the Department and his research has been
published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and books. He is Associate Editor
of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, and International Advisory Board Member
His theoretical work focuses on drawing out the implications of
poststructuralist, post-marxist, discourse analytic, and psychoanalytic thought
for key debates around freedom, democracy, political economy, and ideology. His
theoretical and empirical research, including the development with David Howarth
of a 'logics approach' to the philosophy and methodology of social sciences, has
been invoked in projects in a wide range of policy and practice-based domains.
Professor David Howarth
- Post-structuralist political theory
- Social movements
- Identity politics
- South African politics
David is a Reader in Social and Political Theory in the Department. He
develops and applies various interpretative approaches, particularly in the
fields of poststructuralist discourse theory and analysis, to a variety of
problematized social phenomena. Such research strategies and qualitative methods
are directed at the study of public policy (especially aviation policy in the UK
and Europe), social movements and groups (especially in the environmental
field), as well as a series of conceptual and normative queries that are
disclosed in this research. Amongst the latter are questions about democracy,
freedom, power, and the politics of identity/difference.
He has published nine books (four research monographs and 5 co-edited
volumes), 24 journal articles and more than 40 contributions in edited volumes,
handbooks and dictionaries. His books include Logics of Critical Explanation in
Social and Political Theory (2007), Poststructuralism and After (2013), and The
Politics of Airport Expansion in the UK (2013).
In 2009 he was awarded a Hinkley Professorship to teach and conduct research
at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and he has taught courses and
presented addresses at universities in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark,
Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, the UK and the USA.
Dr Laura Montanaro
- Dr Laura Montanaro staff profile
Laura Montanaro is a Lecturer in Political Theory. She is working on
democratic theory in the area of non-electoral representation. Her research
focuses on two broad and related questions. How might democratic representation
develop outside of electoral institutions, not only within established
democracies, but also in those places where representative democracy is
underdeveloped or entirely absent, including the global arena? And how should we
theorize and normatively assess various forms of non-electoral representation?
Her manuscript, Who Elected Oxfam? A Democratic Defence of Self-Appointed
Representatives considers actors who might credibly claim to be democratic
representatives, though not as a consequence of formal elections. Laura’s
manuscript is currently under review, and she is preparing articles on the
constitutive effects of representation, and non-electoral mechanisms of
authorization and accountability.
Prior to joining the department, Laura was a Harper Schmidt Fellow and
Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of
Chicago. She holds a doctorate from the University of British Columbia, and a
Masters degree and an undergraduate degree from York University.
Professor Aletta Norval
- Democratic theory
- South African politics
- Theories of ethnicity
- Feminist theory
- The construction of political identities
Aletta is Professor of Political Theory in the Department and Dean of the
Graduate School. She is Consulting Editor of Political Theory and serves on the
Editorial Boards of Theory and Event, Acta Philosophica and Politikon. She is
also founding member and member of the National Executive of the Association for
Political Thought UK and Ireland.
Her current research interests include democratic theory, questions of
subjectivity, contestation and the formation of political demands. She writes on
Cavell, Emerson, Wittgenstein, Rancière, Foucault, Tully and Laclau. Her
monographs include Aversive Democracy. Inheritance and Originality in the
Democratic Tradition (Cambridge University Press2007), and Deconstructing
Apartheid Discourse (Verso 1996).
She is co-editor of Practices of Freedom: Decentred Governance, Conflict and
Democratic Participation (Cambridge, 2014), South Africa in Transition
(Macmillan 1998), and Discourse Theory and Political Analysis (Manchester
University Press 2000). She has published in the APSR, BJPolS, Political Theory,
Diacritics, Ethics and Global Politics, and the Journal of Political Ideologies.
She is currently working on a book on Wittgenstein and Cavell.
Professor Norval is lead investigator on an interdisciplinary project
investigating the controversy around identity cards, the use of biometrics for
identification, issues of personal privacy and data protection, and what the
future holds for identity management. The £1,36m IMPRINTS project, funded by the
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, focuses on why people accept
some new technologies but not others. The project has been hailed as a 'big idea
of the future' by RCUK. As a result of her work on biometrics, Professor Norval
has been invited to sit on the Privacy Committee of the Biometrics Institute.
Dr Tom Parr
- Theories of distributive and social justice
- Job markets and their regulation
- Educational justice
Tom is a Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department. His research
interests lie in moral, legal, and political philosophy and, in particular, in
normative questions relating to the job market and its regulation. This includes
questions about the structure of the job market, as well as about fair access to
the benefits and burdens it produces. Most recently, Tom has published on the
wrongness of discrimination.
Within the Department, Tom teaches political theory. He is the Module Leader
Principles of Social Justice (GV250) and Contemporary Theories of