Political Science and International Relations research interests

Browse the research interests of staff in the Political Science and International Relations programme.


The academics and graduate students in the Political Science and International Relations Programme undertake research in a wide variety of areas. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and uses a diverse set of methodologies and theories. Concentrations of expertise exist in a number of areas with critical mass providing depth and experience for post-graduate supervision and the opportunity for collaborative research projects and grant applications.

For more information please see the Research Cluster section below. For detailed research agendas and lists of publications please consult the profiles of individual staff.

A selection of current research projects being undertaken by the staff are below and on our Research Centres and Projects page. For a full list of research agendas and publications of individual staff members please consult the individual staff pages. Information on upcoming conferences and events can be found on our news and events page.


Research clusters

China/East Asia/Pacific:

economic development; foreign policy; regionalism

Conflict and security:

multilateral cooperation; critical security studies; feminist security studies; non-state armed groups; peacekeeping; post-conflict policies; violence and trauma

Europe/North America :

comparative integration; institutional development; media; political leadership; political parties

Global governance:

development and aid; global norms; human rights; international organisations

Immigration, Citizenship and Political representation:

democratic theory; ethno-cultural diversity; nationalism; populism; refugees and asylum seekers

New Zealand politics:

elections; ideologies; leadership; media; political parties; foreign policy

Political economy:

international political economy; global finance; institutional analysis; regionalism; varieties of capitalism

Political and International relations theory:

cosmopolitanism; critical theory; culture, race and international relations; democratic theory; history of political thought; non-Western thought

Recent major publications

The Broken Decade: Prosperity, depression and recovery in New Zealand 1928-39Malcolm McKinnon, The Broken Decade: Prosperity, depression and recovery in New Zealand, 1928-39 (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016)

The Broken Decade is a detailed history of the Depression of the 1930s. It begins by introducing the prosperous world of New Zealand in the late 1920s before focusing on the sudden onset of the Depression in 1930-31, the catastrophic months that followed and, finally, on the attempt to find a way back to that pre-Depression prosperity.

Non-Democratic Politics: Authoritarianism, disctatorship and democratizationXavier Marquez, Non-Democratic Politics: Authoritarianism, Dictatorship and Democratization, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Drawing on a wide variety of examples and data from around the world, this important new text provides a global account of the history and theory of non-democratic government over the past two centuries. Grounded on the most recent social science research, this text provides a comprehensive account of the types of non-democracy in the world today. It argues that, for historical reasons, non-democratic regimes have primarily varied along two dimensions – personal and social control – and shows how they have ruled through many different institutions, from parties to armies to dynastic families, while confronting similar problems of elite cohesion and information management.

Recognition and Global Politics: Critical encounters between state and worldPatrick Hayden and Kate Schick (eds), Recognition and Global Politics: Critical encounters between state and world, (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2016)

This publication examines the potential and limitations of the discourse of recognition as a strategy for reframing justice and injustice within contemporary world affairs. This collection draws on resources from social and political theory and international relations theory, feminist theory, postcolonial studies and social psychology and explores a range of political struggles, social movements and sites of opposition that have shaped certain practices and informed contentious debates in the language of recognition.

Asia's Security book cover

Robert Ayson, Asia's Security (Basingstoke, U.K., Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Security threats in Asia fast become issues for the rest of the world. This introductory and wide-ranging text on the subject takes a thematic approach to assess how localised security issues - from territorial rivalry to the rise of China - materialise as 'ripple effects' across the whole region.

Xavier Marquez A Stranger's Knowledtge

Xavier Marquez, A Stranger's Knowledge: Statesmanship, Philosophy, and Law in Plato's Statesman (Nevada: Parmenides Publishing, 2012)

The Statesman is a difficult and puzzling Platonic dialogue. In A Stranger's Knowledge Marquez argues that Plato abandons here the classic idea, prominent in the Republic, that the philosopher, qua philosopher, is qualified to rule. Instead, the statesman is presented as different from the philosopher, the possessor of a specialist expertise that cannot be reduced to philosophy.