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Academic Staff

Dr Roberto Roccu

Roberto RoccuLecturer in International Political Economy

+44 (0)20 7848 1377
Address Department of European & International Studies
King's College London
Room 4.30 Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway
London WC2B 6LE

Office hours:
Mondays 13.30 - 14.30
Tuesdays 14.00 - 15.00


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 is – slowly but steadily – improving his proficiency in Arabic.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Critical International Political Economy
  • Political Economy of Development
  • Political Economy of the Arab Spring
  • Gramsci

Dr Roccu’s dissertation focused on the political economy of reforms in Egypt between 1991 and 2010, and more specifically on the process of neoliberalisation of the Egyptian economy occurring during those two decades. In order to analyse this process, Dr Roccu developed an alternative understanding of Gramsci in IR and IPE beyond the prevalent Coxian orthodoxy. The main argument advanced in the dissertation is that the neoliberalisation of the Egyptian economy – however partial, fragmented, and ultimately reversible – further eroded the basis for hegemony on the national scale, contributing significantly to the fall of the Mubarak regime. In the medium term, Dr Roccu plans to shift the focus of his research in a more comparative direction, studying how economic reforms implemented in the past three decades in Arab post-populist republics – Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria – have contributed, in different forms and to a varying degree, to the wave of political revolts that these countries experienced and are still experiencing in the so-called Arab Spring. Dr Roccu is currently also working, in collaboration with other scholars, to a more systematic understanding of the relevance of the work of David Harvey for IR and IPE. 

Roberto welcomes applications for PhD topics related to any of his research interests. 

For more details, please see Roberto's full research profile.

Selected publications
  • (2011), ‘Of Middle Classes, Economic Reforms and Political Revolts in the Middle East: Why Democratisation Theory Failed, Again’, in Stefania Panebianco, ed., Winds of Democratic Change in the Mediterranean? Actors, Processes and Possible Outcomes, Palermo: Rubbettino.
For a complete list of publications, please see Roberto's full research profile.

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 2012-13 academic year, he will be teaching the following modules:

7AAYM218 Research Methods in Social Sciences
7AAOM220 Global Governance and International Organisations
7AAOM221 Political Economy of Development
7AAYM215 Political Economy of the Welfare State

Expertise and public engagement
  • Occasional contributor to the international press, in particular for The Guardian and Il Post (in Italian)
  • Interviewed in TV talk shows, in particular by the BBC (BBC World News and BBC One) on issues concerning the Arab Spring and the Italian debt crisis
  • Happy to talk to media on issues concerning the Arab Spring and more broadly the Middle East, and the Southern European debt crisis (especially Italy)
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