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Professor Mervyn Frost is a Political Scientist who works in the field of International Relations. His areas of interest are International Relations Theory and Ethics and International Relations.

He joined the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London in 2003 and was Head of Department from 2007-2013. From 1996 – 2003 he was Professor of International Relations at the University of Kent and from 1986-1996 he held the Chair in the Department of Politics at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa.

His research has been focused on the ethical dimensions of international politics. In particular he focusses on the difficult ethical problems facing international actors today such as those presented by refugee flows; climate change; global economic interdependence, and conflict in the cyber domain

Research Interests

His areas of interest include:

  • International Relations Theory
  • Ethics in International Relations
  • Human Rights in a World of States
  • Private Military and Security Companies: ethical problems

During the course of his long academic career Mervyn developed an ethically informed way of understanding international affairs known as “constitutive theory”.  The most recent version of this, developed with his co-author Dr Silviya Lechner, is now referred to as Practice Theory.


Mervyn is currently the Convener of the MA International Course and teaches the following modules:

  • Theories and Concepts in International Relations (MA core module)
  • Ethics in International Relations (MA optional module)


  • Towards a Normative Theory of International Relations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1986

  • Ethics in International Relations: A Constitutive Theory, Cambridge University Press, February 1996

  • Constituting Human Rights: Global Civil Society and the Society of Democratic States (London: Routledge, 2002)

  • Global Ethics: Anarchy, Freedom and International Relations (London, Routledge, 2009)

  • International Ethics (four volumes, edited set of key articles in International Relations) (Sage Library of International Relations, London, 2012)

  • Practice Theory and International Relations, co-author Silviya Lechner, (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

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

PhD supervision

Professor Frost currently supervises five doctoral students in the broad field of ethics and international relations.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Professor 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