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Research in the Department of Political Economy focuses on fundamental questions about the human condition at the local, national and international scale. 

We recognise that understanding and evaluating the ability of states, markets and communities to address social problems requires a pluralistic approach, open to insights from different disciplines, theories and research methods.

Research from the Department of Political Economy continues to feature in top ranking journals across the nexus of politics, philosophy and economics. In doing so, our research draws on insights from rational choice theory to neo-classical economics to heterodox approaches to political economy. We also employ a range of methodologies including econometrics, case studies, historical and textual analysis, normative theory and policy evaluation.

Research culture

We have an open and inclusive research culture which stimulates conversation between contesting theories, approaches and ideologies, and which brings together faculty and graduate students in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere.

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Research groups and centres

Our research is organised into a range of groups and research centres which reflect the diversity of interests and approaches in the department.

Our Current Research Projects

November 2020 - December 2023. Funded by ESRC / NORFACE.

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May 2021 - January 2024. Funded by: John Templeton Foundation.

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January 2022 - December 2023. Funded by: British Academy. The project constitutes the first ever evidenced-based study of the social life of Tunisian democracy. An integral undertaking of this project is to advocate for a recalibration of definitions (and prescriptions) of democracy within institutions that operate in the field of international democracy promotion.

December 2022 - November 2024. Funded by: Leverhulme Trust.

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Research on Islamism has remained predominantly Sunni-centric. This project brings ‘the Other Islamists’ – Shia Islamists – into the debate on Islamism in the Arab Middle East. It will use a cross-disciplinary theoretical approach which takes religion seriously without essentialising it, to explore whether, and if so, how and why, Shia Islamism(s) differ from their Sunni counterparts. The project will focus on three research puzzles drawn from the Islamism and sectarianization debates: 1) to what extent are Islamist movements shaped by their context, to what extent by their religious identity/ideology/institutions; 2) to what extent and how does the importance of sect-coded identities for Islamist movements change over time and how has this affected/been affected by the process of sectarianization; 3) what role does sectarian othering play in intra-sect competition within the current sectarianized milieu. These questions are examined through three work packages made up of comparative and within-case-studies of key Islamist movements in Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain. The studies will be carried out by a team of internationally leading experts. The TOI Project’s co-leads are Dr Morten Valbjørn (Aarhus University) and Prof Jeroen Gunning. Funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (September 2019 till January 2023)

Find out more about the project here

Our Research



Founded in 2010, the Department of Political Economy is the only department of its kind in the…

Departmental Seminars 2023/24

Departmental Seminars

Every week the Department of Political Economy invites guest speakers or academic staff to present…

News & Events from the Department of Political Economy