Critical War/Military Studies: A Workshop

May 8th, 2014

I am pleased to be able to announce details of a workshop I have organised to take place later this month – 29th May – at Newcastle University. The workshop highlights the important agenda of critical war and critical military studies. The workshop will highlight some of the excellent work being conducted in this growing field of study. Participants will discuss what it means to study to study war and the military critically and the issues and problems this entails. Email me ( if you would like to attend.

The program for the workshop is as follows:

Continue reading Critical War/Military Studies: A Workshop»

Job Advert: Lecturer in International Politics – Newcastle University

January 30th, 2014

Newcastle University

Lecturer in International Politics

Newcastle University -School of Geography, Politics & Sociology


Grade F: £32,590 – £36,661 per annum

Grade G: £37,756 – £45,053 per annum (with potential progression to £50,688)

Closing Date: 14 March 2014

Applications are invited for a Lectureship in International Politics, based in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology. You will join a growing Politics unit that is committed to achieving excellence in both research and teaching as demonstrated by our very strong performance in the most recent research assessment exercise and our outstanding National Student Survey scores.

Applications are welcome from candidates with an excellent record of published research or outstanding research potential in any area of International Politics. You will be expected to contribute to the teaching of our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and to participate in the supervision of research postgraduates.

Informal enquiries may be made to the Head of Politics, Dr. Nick Randall, (tel: +44 (0)191 222 6997; email:

Further details  here:

Special Issue: Security and the Politics of Resilience

November 5th, 2013

Politics has just published a Special Issue on ‘Security and the Politics of Resilience’. The Special Issue is edited by James Brassett, Stuart Croft, and Nick Vaughan-Williams (Warwick University) and focuses on the nature and complexities of the concept of resilience. In recent years the concept of resilience has come to frame security discourses particularly – though not exclusively – in the UK context. Taken as whole, the volume focuses on the politics of resilience in diverse empirical settings and addresses questions such as: How we should understand resilience? What is stake in the rise of resilience? Who benefits from resilience and what are the political effects of its societal cultivation? The collection features an agenda for resilience research in Politics and International Relations, covering issues as diverse as cyber-security, international state-building, and the 2011 UK riots. Additionally, the Special Issue features an interview with leading resilience practitioner Helen Braithwaite OBE, head of the resilience and emergencies division of the UK government’s Department of Communities and Local Government. The volume will be free to access until February 2014 and can be accessed via this link:

Table Of Contents follows: Continue reading Special Issue: Security and the Politics of Resilience»

Rights Fit For a Networked World

October 30th, 2013


I have written a new post on the politics of networked life for the Newcastle Politics Culture, Security, Identity blog at e-IR. In it, I look at the questions raised by the idea of a right to the internet and the way in which recent NSA spying has revealed the way in which our discussions about such rights are insufficiently developed. Here’s an excerpt:

The assumption of a right to connection and the reduction of discussion of its dimensions to practical concerns about access mask a deeper set of social and political dynamics. On the one hand, the conjunction of Facebook and the UN around a right to the internet shows the way in which the idea of a networked world has penetrated our thinking of contemporary global life. Life itself is no longer understood as individual, but rather as a constellation of relations. While relations with others have always been important, rights have generally been possessed by individuals thought of as single autonomous units of social and political life. However, the right to the internet reveals a different model of social and political life. Instead of individuals, we are nodes in networks (both physical and virtual – wires and relationships). Indeed, we can only achieve our full potential by connecting, that is by abandoning the idea of an autonomous individual and becoming enmeshed in the network.

As I have written elsewhere, in a networked world we cannot avoid being exposed virtually and physically: we are exposed to ideas and relationships; and we are exposed to a dependence on connecting infrastructures. Our life is characterised by being able to expose ourselves; to withdraw from exposure is to have no life at all. And yet there is little discussion of the politics of this exposure.

You can read the full piece here:

Syria: Why those who think UK vote against action appeases Assad are wrong

August 30th, 2013

Last night Defence Secretary Philip Hammond – fresh from seeing parliament refuse to grant the government a mandate to attack Syria – noted, with some frustration, that “Common sense must tell us that the Assad regime is going to be a little less uncomfortable tonight as a result of this decision in parliament“. This is a theme that has been repeated elsewhere

According to this perspective blocking military action will give succour to Assad and potentially emboldens those that would use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) or commit crimes against humanity.

This seems to me to be a very partial reading of the outcome of last night’s vote. On twitter I have indicated that I think there are 4 points those arguing that a failure to authorise strikes on Syria are failing to acknowledge:

Continue reading Syria: Why those who think UK vote against action appeases Assad are wrong»