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Mervyn Frost was educated at the University of Stellenbosch and subsequently, as a Rhodes Scholar, read Politics at Oxford. He held lectureships at the University of Cape Town and at Rhodes University before being appointed to the Chair of Politics and Head of Department at the University of Natal in Durban. In 1996 he took up the position of Professor of International Relations at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He is a past President of the South African Political Studies Association and was editor of its journal Politikon.

He currently serves on the editorial boards of:

  • International Political Sociology
  • Journal of International Political Theory
  • South African Journal of International Affairs
  • Politics and Governance
  • International Public Policy Review

He was elected to the Executive Committee of the International Studies Association (ISA) and was until 2008 Chairman of the International Ethics Section of the ISA.

He joined the Department of War Studies in 2003 as Professor of International Relations. He was Head of the Department from 2007 to 2013.

From June to August 2019 he was the first Distinguished Professorial Visiting Fellow, University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia.

He is currently a Professorial Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.


Research Interests

His areas of interest include:

  • Ethics in International Relations
  • International Political Theory
  • Ethical Issues Surrounding Private Military and Security Companies



He has written extensively on ethics and international relations. His recent work, with Dr Silviya Lechner, is focused on the “practice turn” in International Relations. Their co-authored work includes:

  • “Two Conceptions of International Practice: Aristotelian praxis or Wittgensteinian language-games?” Review of International Studies Volume 42 / Issue 02 / April 2016, pp 334 – 350;
  • “Understanding international relations from the internal point of view” July 2015, Journal of International Political Theory. p. 1-21;

Earlier publications include:

  • Practice Theory and International Relations, (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  • Ethics and International Relations (CUP, 1996)
  • Human Rights in a World of States (Routledge, 2002)
  • Global Ethics (Routledge, 2009)
  • International Ethics (ed) 4 volume reference work

For more details about his other publications please refer to the Research Portal


PhD supervision

He is happy to supervise PhD students in the broad area of International Ethics, including:

  • Human Rights in International Relations
  • Humanitarian Intervention
  • Justice in World Politics
  • Democratizing Global Governance
  • The Just War Tradition in an Era of New Wars
  • Ethics in a Globalizing World
  • Ethical issues surrounding the use of private military and security companies


Expertise and Public Engagement

Professsor Frost has given and is happy to give public lectures and provide media commentary on a range of ethical questions that arise in international affairs