Research themes

Our research activity is guided by a focus on key themes: Critical security; Ethnicity, migration and citizenship; Europe and Europeanization; Political and social inequalities; Social, cultural and political theory; and South and East Asia.  All researchers across the school cluster around one or more of the themes.  This enables collective identification over themes within the School and aims to generate further collaboration and interdisciplinarity in our research activities.  In addition, the clusters provide a basis for internal and external recognition of the main questions and topics that our research addresses.  Some research themes host research infrastructures, including centres, networks, seminar series, workshops and reading groups.

Critical Security

This cluster addresses questions around the dynamics of security and insecurity, the structural patterns of global poverty and disadvantage, and the evolving international balances and imbalances of state power.  The Global Insecurities Centre and the Faculty International Development research group contribute to thinking centred around this theme.

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Ethnicity, migration and citizenship

Topics include the changing patterns of ethnic relations and identification; multiculturalism, religion and liberal democracy; Muslim minorities in the West; migration, return migration and transnational communities; and transnational elite migration.  The Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship, the Bristol Institute for Migration and Mobility Studies and the Migration reading group advance this research agenda.

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European politics and societies

Studies focus on European governance and the European Union; the relationship between European Union institutions and national policies; European civil society; Europeanization processes, and the transformation of the European public sphere.  This research is supported by the activities of the European Governance reading group.

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SPAIS gender research is inter-disciplinary, feminist and global: we examine gender identities and relationships in the private and the public sphere, domestically and internationally, exploring local practices of gender, and representations of gender and gendered actors in the social and political world.  The Gender Research Centre contributes to work around this theme.

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Political and social inequalities

Research in this theme addresses the 'state of the art' issues of: gender; family and work; poverty and class; and social justice.  The Townsend Centre on Poverty, and the Faculty research groups on Perspectives on Work and Families and Parenting carry their relevant activities forward in this theme.

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Social, cultural and political theory

Research in this cluster advances theory in the disciplines of sociology and politics.  Work has considered themes of distributive justice, feminism theory, history of political thought, Marxism, masculinities and postsecularism.  The Faculty Cultural Work research group contributes to research in this area.

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South and East Asia

This cluster explores the EU-Asia relationship, party politics in South Asia, the development of diasporic identities, historical and contemporary perspectives on globalisation.  The Faculty International Development research group contributes to this theme.

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