CSSGJ
Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice

CSSGJ Students

Current students

Ibtisam Ahmed

Ibtisam Ahmed

Research topic: Can the British Raj be studied as an attempt at political utopia?

Utopian studies have focused on cases that are either fictional or small-scale without tapping into the potential of using utopianism to critically evaluate larger political systems. In this thesis, Ibtisam hopes to bridge that gap in the literature by examining how the British conceptualised and utilised notions of "civilisation" and "the good life" in their rule of the Indian subcontinent, and how local communities subsequently recreated their own reactionary utopias.

The research makes use of historiographical analysis from the top-down and the bottom-up, as well as utilising queer theory to read into absent voices within the literature.

 

oliverdodd

 Oliver Dodd

Oliver is an ESRC funded PhD candidate in the School of Politics and International Relations where he is the seminar convenor for the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) and a member of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism (CST).

Oliver was awarded the 2019 MA dissertation prize for the highest graded dissertation by the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism (CST). In that MA dissertation, Oliver analysed Colombia’s armed conflict and 2016 peace agreement, while seeking to interrelate (counter-)insurgency theory and practice with political-economic developments. Oliver has also conducted ethnographic research in key areas of Colombia’s armed conflict. He continues to analyse Colombia's armed conflict and peacemaking experiences.

 


Elena Colombo

Elena Colombo

Research topic: What is the relationship between theory, fiction and practice in vernacular ecological politics?

Utopian and dystopian fiction has always acted as an arena for political and social debates; in the last three decades, more and more novels have been set in a context of climate change apocalypse: nowadays, the ecological theme has become a steady and pervasive presence in this genre. Similarly, environmental philosophies have grown and changed; society, too, has witnessed the evolution of different "utopian" lived experiments. This research aims to establish similarities and differences between environmental theories, utopian/dystopian contemporary fiction, and social practices: its goal is to distinguish possible influences through the three levels and determine if utopian/dystopian literature can be considered as a bridge between theory and practice.

 


 Pai Kang

Pai is a doctoral student in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UoN). He completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Sunderland in 2016, and master from the University of Liverpool in 2017. During his postgraduate studies, Pai began to focus on ethical topics that affect corporate interests and image, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), labor rights. His current research interests are corporate human rights and ethics policies.

His current research poses the question, 'How will Chinese companies implement Corporate Social Responsibility, and to what extent human rights are integrated?’.

 

 Joe Pateman

Joe is a Politics PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham, UK, who main interests are in Marxism-Leninism, democratic theory, and the political economy of race. He is the co-author of Managing Cultural Change in Public Libraries: Marx, Maslow and Management (2019, Routledge), and has recently (2020) had papers published in the ‘Journal of Socialist Theory’ and ‘Science and Society’,

 

 

 



Former students

Kayhan Valadbagi

Research topic: Neoliberalisation, State and Social Class: The Political Economy of Contemporary Iran.

Kayhan successfully defended his PhD in September 2020.

Jokubas Salyga

Research topic: Capital, State and Labour in the Enigma of Baltic ‘Post-Communist’
Transformation

Jokubas successfully defended his PhD in July 2020.

Robyn Muir

Research topic: The Wonderful World of Disney? A critical insight to the Disney Princess Franchise

Merchandising and politics would not normally have a lot in common, however in this thesis Robyn intends to draw the link between the two by examining the gendered politics found in the way the Disney Princess Franchise market their brand. Using a constructivist and feminist framework, Robyn hopes to explore the effect of marketing and merchandising on consumers of the brand and how this can contribute to a gendered society. Robyn successfully defended her PhD viva in the summer of 2020.

Alex Serafimov

Research topic: The reason/emotion dualism in Western political thought and practice

Alex was an ESRC PhD Student at the University of Nottingham, School of Politics and International Relations. My research focuses on the reason/emotion dualism in Western political thought, and how it continues to inform common-sense understandings, and negatively impact those social groups and individuals, such as women and the mentally ill, who are often labelled as "irrational" or "emotional". Alex successfully defended his PhD viva in 2019.

David Porter

Research topic: An Institutional Analysis of British State Propaganda Policy Evolution, 2006-2019

David successfully defended his PhD in April 2020.

Jonathon Mansell

During my time with CSSGJ my research focused on the question of displacement within the international system. Developing a phenomenological approach, I sought to argue that displacement is brought about when the experience of the inter-subjective face-to-face becomes mediated through a particular project of spatial totalisation, to the point that it comes to be experienced objectively as the side-by-side.

The research project, therefore, sought to explore how this process of totalisation could be traced through the fundamental ontology of the international system. Building on elements of the research I am now interested in exploring the role of ethical discourses in the legitimisation of political and economic projects. I am also developing an interest in the historical, social and cultural formation of subjectivities within global politics, including the formation of "national identities" as meaningful projects.

Pei May Lee

Research topic: Assessing Chinese Development in the Global Economy

There have been many studies on Chinese development in recent years, especially when China (now world largest economy) becomes the second largest economy after the US. However, researcher feels the interpretation of Chinese development is often done based on statistical data, or is often influenced by a researcher's ideology. Such research is deemed not value-free and the findings may not reflect the reality of Chinese development. Moreover, some issues are still unabated to this date and is worth examined.

As such, the relevance of May's research is that it engages with theoretical approaches, which is lacking in existing literature. Four development theories, which are most commonly found in development literature, will form May's analytical framework: Modernisation Theory, Dependency Theory, Uneven and Combined Development and Developmental State.

Yumiko Kaneko

Research topic: The role of psychosocial approaches in development planning following post-conflict situations in Timor-Leste

Much humanitarian work and peacebuilding initiatives have been implemented in war-shattered countries by international and bilateral institutions, and NGOs in recent years. Humanitarian action is never apolitical and nor is psychosocial work as a domain of humanitarianism. The paucity of studies about psychosocial programmes has contributed to receiving countries being in aid-dependency relationship, undermining their resilience. This research investigates the contributions of psychosocial interventions to war-affected populations from a political sociology perspective. Two key approaches are identified and critically assessed. There are the 'trauma' and the 'resilience' approaches to humanitarian intervention.

Although trauma models were popular among aid agencies during the 1990s, there has been debate over whether the current trauma coping therapy might make war-affected populations merely passive victims. Contrarily, the concept of resilience has gained interest as fostering models which encourage people to be active survivors. Resilience is conceptualized as the capacity to return into a previous situation and to bounce back from crises and shocks such as terrorism, poverty, and natural disasters. This concept has become key to policies ranged over many subjects (eg security, finance, state-building et al) following 9/11. However, its shifting meaning has been controversial. A key ethical and political concern has been that resilience is a one-sided distribution of responsibility to individuals supposedly which has fitted with the nature of neoliberal governance emphasizing preparedness, individual responsibility and adaptability.

This study analyses how the resilience approaches combine concern for addressing trauma, peacebuilding and post-conflict statebuilding. It is then aiming to provide policy implications of effective methods for psychosocial interventions especially in Timor-Leste.

Cemal Burak Tansel

Research topic: State Formation and Social Change in Modern Turkey

State Formation and Social Change in Modern Turkey unravels the conditions in and the processes with which the ‘modern’ Turkish state emerged in the aftermath of the World War I through an in-depth empirical and theoretical investigation. Reconceptualising the place of the state in the contemporary international relations and historical sociology literatures, the thesis positions the formation of the modern Turkish state as the outcome of a transformative matrix comprising overarching structural conditions, historical and geopolitical conjuncture of the Ottoman Empire and agential preferences which materialised through a dialectical interaction between local and international socio-spatial levels.

Accordingly, the thesis proposes a new transdisciplinary research agenda for the study of the state and the states-system whereby Turkish state formation is positioned as a distinctive, but not entirely a unique episode of political reorganisation that accompanied the world-historical expansion of capitalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Personal website: www.cbtansel.net

Max Crook

Research topic: State Autonomy and the rise and fall of British Social Democracy

The thesis following a Poulantzasian perspective sees the basis for social democracy in the particular form and extent of the state’s relative autonomy. It seeks to understand the driving force behind the progressive extension of state autonomy, through a study of the industrial and political wings of the British labour movement since 1918.

Yared Akarapattananukul

Research topic: Political Violence in Intellectual History: a Comparison of Carl Schmitt's 'the political' and Hannah Arendt's 'politics'

Yared's study aims to analyse political violence from philosophical perspectives of politics and to place them within their historical context. The thoughts of contemporary philosophers, including Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt, will be used in the conceptualization of political violence to show the consistent/inconsistent idea of these two thinkers.

Gorkem Altinors

Research topic: Minarets and Golden Arches: State, Capital and Neoliberalism in Turkey

This research critically investigates the juxtaposition of political Islam and neoliberalism, and construct the Gramscian historical materialist (GMH) account for the neoliberal restructuring in Turkey during the AKP era, with a specific focus on urbanisation, education, and media sectors and within the conceptual framework of state-society relations.

The study construes the restructuring process as a passive revolution which can be explained very briefly as a slow social transformation process realised by an alliance of different social classes. Inside this context, the role of both consent and coercion on the reconstruction of the state-society relations are evaluated. In this context the transition from consent to coercion represents a transition from hegemony to authoritarianism with a special reference to the Gramscian term the integral state, that is to say "hegemony protected by the armour of coercion".

Similarly, the state-society relations is considered within the integral state understanding too, thus the emphasis is going to be on the state-society symbiosis. This holistic approach is called GHM in this study. The AKP era is the only analysis period of this research because pre-AKP period was analysed by many Gramscian scholars and the AKP's sustained victory represents a new form of hegemony. Therefore the analysis is limited to 2002-2015 era.

Jamie Jordan

Research topic: European Monetary Union and the Sovereign Debt Crisis: Neoliberal Restoration in Europe's Periphery

Jamie's research project seeks to understand, and explain, the changes that are occurring to Greece and Portugal's political economy throughout the eurozone crisis as they are subjected to structural adjustment programmes in return for financial assistance. Whilst individual case studies, these will be related to the wider dynamics of Europe’s political economy, focusing on processes of neoliberalisation which have occurred since the renewed supranational integration of the 1980s, and the inception of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

In part, both nations were deemed to be success stories when considering convergence dynamics in their models of capitalism, bringing them closer to 'core' states in terms of corporate governance, industrial relations, and the role of the state. However, the eurozone crisis has re-energised discussion surrounding the 'peripheral' nature, and continued divergence, of these states in such areas and the potential for economic growth, political and social cohesion. The political economic changes taking place therefore generates the need to question what, how and, most importantly, why these changes are occurring throughout the crisis. This will provide a detailed understanding of whether a new direction in Europe's political economy is emerging, or whether the examples of Greece and Portugal demonstrate a restoration of neoliberal dynamics which have a clear lineage in the historical development of the European Union, particularly the Eurozone.

Yumiko Kaneko

Research topic: The role of psychosocial approaches in development planning following post-conflict situations in Timor-Leste

Much humanitarian work and peacebuilding initiatives have been implemented in war-shattered countries by international and bilateral institutions, and NGOs in recent years. Humanitarian action is never apolitical and nor is psychosocial work as a domain of humanitarianism. The paucity of studies about psychosocial programmes has contributed to receiving countries being in aid-dependency relationship, undermining their resilience. This research investigates the contributions of psychosocial interventions to war-affected populations from a political sociology perspective. Two key approaches are identified and critically assessed. There are the 'trauma' and the 'resilience' approaches to humanitarian intervention.

Although trauma models were popular among aid agencies during the 1990s, there has been debate over whether the current trauma coping therapy might make war-affected populations merely passive victims. Contrarily, the concept of resilience has gained interest as fostering models which encourage people to be active survivors. Resilience is conceptualized as the capacity to return into a previous situation and to bounce back from crises and shocks such as terrorism, poverty, and natural disasters. This concept has become key to policies ranged over many subjects (eg security, finance, state-building et al) following 9/11. However, its shifting meaning has been controversial. A key ethical and political concern has been that resilience is a one-sided distribution of responsibility to individuals supposedly which has fitted with the nature of neoliberal governance emphasizing preparedness, individual responsibility and adaptability.

This study analyses how the resilience approaches combine concern for addressing trauma, peacebuilding and post-conflict statebuilding. It is then aiming to provide policy implications of effective methods for psychosocial interventions especially in Timor-Leste.

Katia Valenzuela Fuentes

Research topic: Towards New Emancipatory Horizons: Autonomous Politics in Urban Groups of Mexico and Chile

In the field of Latin American social movements, Katia's research seeks to explore the extent to which Chilean and Mexican autonomous urban groups are developing a new kind of radical politics. Additionally, it aims to identify the contributions of militant ethnography for a collective and politically-engaged production of knowledge in the field of social movements' studies.

Particularly, this study analyses the way in which these groups develop a critique of the representational and state-centred politics and embody a prefigurative politics in their practices of dissent. The study also analyses the methodological and epistemological implications of applying a militant ethnography design in the study of activist groups.

Vera Weghmann

Research topic: The Employability Promise: The Cases of Unpaid Internships and Workfare in the UK

Vera is currently doing her PhD at the University of Nottingham. Her thesis is entitled "The Employability Promise: The Cases of Unpaid Internships and Workfare in the UK" and funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. She has also been an activist in various groups and movements and recently co-founded the grass-roots trade union,  United Voices of the World (UVW), which is almost entirely comprised of migrant workers in London’s low wage, service sector.

CSSGJ

School of Politics and International Relations
Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 8135
cssgj@nottingham.ac.uk