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Biography

Roberto Roccu joined the Department of European & International Studies at King’s College in September 2012. He holds a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Before moving to the UK, he completed a BA in Political Science at the University of Sassari and an MA in International Studies at the University of Bologna-Forlì. He is a native speaker of Italian and Sardinian, is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and has a steadily improving command of Modern Standard Arabic (and is aiming for fluency there too).

Research interests

Roberto’s research is located in the tradition of critical International Political Economy (IPE), with a regional focus on the Middle East and the Mediterranean. His work looks at this region as an integral part of the global political economy, thus seeking to bridge IPE literature, which too often sees the Middle East through the lens of oil, and the literature on the political economy of the Middle East, historically dominated by the area studies community and not infrequently neglecting the global entanglements that have significantly transformed the region, especially over the past half century. This general orientation shapes Roberto’s contributions to the literature on the international political economy of the Egyptian revolution and counterrevolution, and informs his three current research projects, which respectively focus on:

  • The EU in its near abroad. Roberto has worked and published extensively on the political economy of EU-promoted reforms in the Middle East, with specific reference to Egypt. More specifically, he has shown how the economic reforms promoted by the EU in this context are informed by ordoliberal ideas, thus showing a continuity in the ideological underpinnings of the EU’s internal and external economic policies. He is now broadening this focus geographically towards an exploration of the EU’s external economic relations in the so-called neighbourhood, looking also at the cases of Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Globalisation and the Middle East. This line of research explores the extent to which two global economic transformations usually associated with globalisation, financialisation and global production networks, affect the economic, political and social prospects of different countries in the region. Roberto is currently looking at the effects that financialisation has on democratic transition and consolidation in Egypt. Hence, at a more general level this project seeks to locate the Arab uprisings, and their aftermath, within structural changes that have transformed the world economy, and the Middle East with it, in the past five decades.
  • IPE and the Middle East (with Dr Hannes Baumann, University of Liverpool). This project has a more theoretical-disciplinary nature, and seeks to challenge the mutual neglect between IPE and Middle East scholarship. It thus seeks to ‘de-orientalise’ the Middle East within IPE, by showing how specific theoretical frameworks developed within the latter can shed light on continuities and transformations within the region. The project also aims to ‘provincialise’ IPE, making it more sensitive to the specificities of each region and thus forcing IPE to abandon some of its enduring Eurocentric assumptions.

Teaching

Dr Roccu has extensive teaching experience in the area of International Political Economy, and more specifically with respect to the relations between international financial institutions and developing countries and to the political economy of the developing world, and particularly of the Middle East. During the 2018/19 academic year, he will be teaching the following modules:

Undergraduate

5AAOB215 Italian Politics

Postgraduate

7AAOM009 International Political Economy: Theories and Issues

7AAOM035 The Middle East in the Global Political Economy

PhD Supervision

Roberto welcomes PhD inquiries related to any of the themes above, as well as to the following more general research interests:

  • Critical International Political Economy
  • International Political Economy of the Middle East
  • Global Political Economy of Development
  • Politics of Global Economic Transformations

Expertise and public engagement

Roberto is available for media appearances on issues pertaining to the political and economic situation of countries across the Middle East and the Mediterranean (including European states such as Italy), and to their relations with the European Union. He has experience of contributing to the international press, in particular for The Guardian, OpenDemocracy, and Il Post (in Italian), and has been interviewed by major television networks (BBC, Al Araby).