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Research

Stolen from Ben R and Chris B:

Research Interests

My research relates to the international political economy of development. It concerns the production and exchange of commodities and the North-South politics in which this is embedded. My principal case study has been the global sugar industry.

My PhD research (2005-2008) focused on the politics of trade regulation in sugar. It looked in particular at the way policy is made in the European Union, the United States and at the World Trade Organization, and its international and intra-national distributive effects. My recent ESRC-funded post-doctoral study (2009-2010) then focused on the ways in which sugar producers are pursuing capital accumulation within this trade regime. It concerned the investment strategies of British Sugar and Tate & Lyle and involved visits to sugar farms in the UK and Zambia.

PhD Supervision

I would encourage prospective postgraduate research students to contact me if they are interested in working on a project dealing with any of my research interests listed above. My current postgraduate supervision includes:

  • Caroline Kuzemko - 'Energy and Power: An analysis of energy relations between Russia and the UK'.
  • Eun-Jeong Cho - 'EURATOM: Nuclear Norm Competition from 1955 to 1957'.
  • Domenico Ferrara - 'Europeanization versus Russification: a test in the common "near abroad"'.
  • Oguzhan Yanarisik - 'The Role of Ideas, Perceptions and Emotions in Foreign Policy Change: The Turkish Case'.
  • Ciaran O'Connor - 'Dissecting Blame: Towards and Ethical Approach?'
  • Johanna Nykänen - 'Western Narratives of Losing Turkey'.
  • Elisa Lopez Lucia - 'Security and Defense Policy Regionalisation Processes: ECOWAS and Mercosur'
  • Jonathan Heath, supervisor - 'Articulating Security: A Linguistic Analysis of the Issues Posed by Employing Language as a Means of Conceptualising Security'.

Ongoing Projects

1. Changing conceptions of the West and Europe. In particular I am interested in the nature of the West and Europe as discursive concepts, the extent to which different discursive legacies of the West can be identified and how they interact with each other (e.g. Anglosphere, Francophone, Hispanic and Germanic Wests), and the ability of outsiders to challenge the West's understandings of itself and play constitutive roles in defining what the West is about in the first place. In this context I previously coordinated a NORFACE seminar series on ‘The Transatlantic Relationship and the Struggle for Europe’. Details of the series and downloads of papers presented can be found at: http://www.norface.org/seminar1.html. The project resulted in the following book: The Struggle for the West: A Divided and Contested Legacy (Routledge: 2010)

2. Ethical/normative agendas in critical approaches to security. In this respect I am working on developing links between the Copenhagen and Welsh schools of critical security studies and their respective concepts of securitisation and emancipation, but am more generally interested in what an ethical agenda to critical approaches to security might look like.

3. The role of borders, margins and hybrid spaces in international relations with a particular focus on how marginal spaces can attain subjectivity and influence in processes of Europe-making. I am in particular interested in the EU's relations with its near abroad through things such as the European Neighbourhood Policy.

4. The relationship between different understandings of security and community building. In this respect, I am engaged in a project exploring the relationship between physical security (security as violence) and ontological security (security as being) in the construction of transnational communities. I am in particular interested in the idea and construction of the so-called Nordic peace and the extent to which this case stands as an anomaly challenging traditional security theory, especially that of the security communities literature. I am more generally interested in the construction of political space, identity and security in the Nordic region.

Organisational Links

In 2008 I became the UK representative of Ethical Sugar, a non-governmental organisation which campaigns for better social and environmental standards in the sugar industry. In this voluntary role I have written discussion papers on the relationship between sugar cane and development and helped co-ordinate the group’s stakeholder forums.

In 2009, via my position with Ethical Sugar, I was elected to the Management Committee of the multi-stakeholder roundtable Bonsucro. From 2010, I have remained in touch wth the organisation and attended a 2011 ISEAL Conference on their behalf. Bonsucro have designed the world’s first sustainability standard by which to certify mainstream sugar and ethanol production.

I have provided information on the sugar industry to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics for their report on biofuels, as well as to the United Nations Environmental Programme.