Current PhD Students

Current PhD Students

Zeidon Alkinani

Intra-Group Rivalries in Power-Sharing Democracies: Iraq’s Intra-Shiite Political Competition

Picture of Zeidon Alkinani

My research focuses on the implications of consociational democracies on intra-group relations. There is an extensive volume of literature on how consociationalism mitigates the relationship and cooperation between political elites that are supposedly representing an ethnically or religiously diverse society. However, the scholarly debate evidently lacks a similar level of focus on the implications of consociational democracies on intra-group relations. The chosen case study is the intra-Shiite political rivalry in post-2003 Iraq’s consociational democracy. Political sectarianism is allegedly one of the main obstacles to Iraq’s political stability – a claim that assumes that Iraqi society is divided across sectarian lines and a power-sharing agreement was and is still necessary to establish peace and stability. It is also an argument that fails to address the consequences of homogenising several communities into separate ‘imagined’ political identities and ignores the ideological, generational, and individualistic diversity within those groups. This research aims to investigate the consequences of consociational democracies on in-group relations and how minimal efforts to acknowledge them can lead to a failed democratic process and further damage domestic political relations.

Kristy Delisle Milton

How is the SDG on gender equality translated into public policy in the UK and Sweden?

My thesis is about the implementation of public policy. Most public policy implementation studies, study one policy being implemented in one policy area. But today more and more public policies are to be translated into several different policy areas (cross-sectoral policy implementation). This thesis focuses on how the Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality (SDG5) is translated into public policy and implemented on the national level in the United Kingdom (UK) and Sweden. One principle and three subsidiary research questions are answered. Firstly, how is the SDG on gender equality translated into public policy and implemented on the national level? Secondly, what policies are formed? What are the implementation outcomes? What are the challenges? In this comparative case study, a combination of semi-structured in-depth interviews with key professionals with publicly available official documents is used.

Grace Johnson

Mass Shootings and Terrorism Studies: Pathways to Radicalisation

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The current academic consensus holds that mass shootings and terrorism are two distinct entities. It has been argued that differences in motivation, separation from organised groups, victim choice, and mode of attack render the two disparate. Though some acknowledge similarities between mass shootings and terrorism, this area remains underdeveloped. What can be revealed about mass shootings when applying theories from the field of terrorism studies? How do mass shooters radicalise? This research aims to provide an alternative perspective to understanding mass shootings through a new line of inquiry, as well as examining what this could reveal about the wider issue of lone actor terrorism.

Kerem Kaymaz, @KeremKaymazX

What factors distinguish Brexit-voting conservatives from Remain-voting conservatives?

I dive deep into the Brexit debate, using discourse analysis to untangle the web of political psychology. My approach? Simple, yet profound. I decode the language of politics to uncover what really drives decisions and divisions. With a focus on Brexit, I'm not just studying events; I'm revealing the underlying emotions and strategies. This is where academic insight meets real-world complexity.


Kareem Korayem

Regional Hegemony with Chinese Characteristics: Strategy vs Tactics

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My thesis is concerned with understanding if China’s goal in the Asia-Pacific is the attainment of regional hegemonic status, and to identify the methods by which it pursues that goal. This research devises a unique analytical framework that combines and reinterprets realist theories to explain Chinese behaviour and identify risks of future conflict. I find that geopolitical changes and incidents in the early 1990’s led China’s threat perception to identify the US as its main strategic rival, leading to the adoption of a strategy of limited regional hegemony over the Asia-Pacific. Due to the dichotomy in the balance of power, the country has elected to advance its strategic interests by relying tactically on coercion below the threshold of conflict. The greatest risk stems from current trends that indicate that China’s current conventional advantage may be waning, resulting in a perceived closing window of opportunity and the risk of pre-emptive strikes.

Zhansultan Nurmukhanov

Effect of regionalism on human security: case of Kazakhstan

The rationale for selecting this topic is because a small number of scholars researched the concept of human security within regionalism and none of them has analysed the case of Kazakhstan and its role in the development of human security in the United Nations (UN), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). In this research project, I will try to fill this gap via qualitative research method (documentary research, interview and participant observation data) and to show the impact of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy on human security as the mentioned concept is not only the safety of one state but several.