The Department of European & International Studies has more than doubled in size since 2008 and European & International Studies academic staff are today committed to multi-disciplinary research on European and international affairs, much of it transcending the mainstream and embracing a critical perspective. European & International Studies researchers publish in some of the leading journals in the discipline including the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of European Public Policy, Party Politics, Public Administration, and West European Politics. Our aim is to produce world leading research in the fields of European studies, European politics and international political economy that contributes not only to scholarship but also has a wider impact in the public and political spheres. The Department of European & International Studies also aims to develop the next generation of scholars by providing support and mentoring for early career researchers.
The department currently hosts five research groups:
The Comparative Politics Research Group
The Critical European Studies Research Group
The Comparative Politics Group is an inter-departmental research group with member from across the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy. Group members from the Department of European and International Studies are currently working on a range of subjects that directly address the challenges and potential crises facing the EU and individual European states. Edoardo Bressanelli’s current research focuses on the challenges faced by the EU and the rise of domestic contestation. Isabelle Hertner is working on the tensions of representative democracy and the continuing challenge posed by populist parties across Europe. Aleko Kupatadze’s research addresses the crisis of legitimacy brought about by the politics of corruption and the ‘dark side’ of globalisation. Finally, Lee Savage is examining both the electoral decline of social democratic parties and the challenges to the welfare state in Europe. Each of these areas of research address a contemporary problem in European politics and while in some instances these problems have not yet reached the point of crisis, each holds that potential.
Current Group Members:
The European Foreign Policy Research Group
This interdisciplinary research group in the Department of European and International Studies (EIS) re-examines key concepts in Europe through a shared lens of critical theory. It critically evaluates the nature and role of transformations in empire, nation, and class in Europe. Using a social historical perspective, we explore movements, processes of identity formation and political change in Europe during moments of crisis.
The Critical European Studies Research Group approaches the departmental research theme of “Crisis & Global Order” by examining the contradictions inherent in diverse social manifestations of European political and cultural economy during times of transition. Members of this group research a diverse spectrum of empirical cases from contemporary and historical Europe. With our interdisciplinary approach, emphasis on critical theory, and long-standing interdepartmental links with the Modern Languages departments, this new Research Group contributes to the established tradition of EIS in exploring topics and themes across diverse European localities and contexts. It ultimately further enhances synergies between European Studies and the Modern Languages departments, and thus expands this successful cross-faculty cooperation in teaching to the realm of research and critical inquiry in European and International Studies.
Current Group Members:
The International Political Economy Research Group
The European Foreign Policy group looks at both EU as well as state foreign policies within Europe and their interconnections. The EU has faced external challenges that can be described as crises in recent years – the Arab Spring starting 2011, the challenge of Russia to its neighbours culminating in the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the migration/refugee crisis starting in 2015. All of these have challenged EU core norms, interests and approaches as well as a significant number of EU member states’ interests and policies in varying ways. They also showed that the EU’s external crises and their management are in various ways connected to domestic dynamics and policy challenges in ways that are not well conceptualised in foreign policy analysis generally and the study of EU foreign policy more specifically. Examples of theoretically under-researched challenges at the intersection of the EU and national levels are populist movements, economic and legitimacy crises associated with the Eurozone, and functionalist linkages between Schengen, border protection and addressing push-factors of migration and refugee flows. The working group and its members are able to contribute to the common theme by:
- Questioning from a theoretical and conceptual perspective some of the prevailing assumptions and priorities in foreign policy analysis as a sub-field of International Relations and contributing to a holistic/integrated approach to middle-range theorising of foreign policy-making in Europe. We value in particular the role of area studies expertise in making sense of the crises in the European neighbourhood, but also insights from public policy and political communication about advocacy, lobbying and framing.
- Contributing to a better understanding about how and when crises are perceived as such by relevant policy-makers, combining both cognitive/ideational perspectives with material/objective accounts related to the power of focusing events and their consequences on the ground. This should also help to develop a more nuanced approach to crises as a concept and how it relates to other ways in which change occurs in foreign policy-making.
- Contributing to debates about how the EU and individual European countries can become better at preventing crises before they mature, managing them better as they escalate, improving their efforts of ultimately resolving them, and learning the right lessons in the aftermath.
Current Group Members:
The Modern Marxism Research Group
The main focus of the International Political Economy research group resides in the examination of the contemporary global crisis, both in its more structural dimension captured by the current debate on the retreat of globalisation, and in some of its more specific processes. These include, but are not limited to, the long aftermath of the global financial crisis, and its specific manifestation within the Eurozone, the effectiveness as well as the legitimacy crisis of the institutions of global governance, the breakdown and shrinking of global value chains and its implications for labour and production, the migration crisis increasingly perceived as a ‘new normal’, and the energy crisis and its relation with both development and the environment. Whereas the research group has a strong core of researchers focusing on Europe and its near abroad, some of its members broaden its geographical scope to encompass rising powers such as India, Brazil and China, allowing the research group as a whole to provide a genuinely global perspective on the current predicament of the global political economy. The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on ‘Europe and the World’, currently chaired by a member of the IPE research group, further witnesses the effort to contextualise the multiple crises affecting Europe within global context. The research group is characterised by its analytical and methodological pluralism, which encompasses both qualitative and quantitative methods, and with strong emphasis placed on the dialogue between mainstream and critical traditions in the field of IPE.
Current Group Members:
We use the varieties of Marxist theory to analyse the contemporary world, with special reference to political economy and to political and social movements. We believe this research is especially relevant to identifying the limits of neoliberal globalization and understanding the resulting crisis of political legitimacy that is developing in many of the core capitalist states. We are also particularly interested in locating these and other states within the global political economy by studying imperialism, the globalization of production and the development of social movements and struggles in the global South.
Current Group Members:
The Modern Marxism Research group also organises a series of talks as part of the Seminar in Contemporary Marxism.
A complete overview of the research interests of staff can be found on their individual staff profiles.
European & International Studies is built on a culture of collaboration with scholars in other departments across King's, especially the original founding departments of French, German and Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies. There is substantial expertise within the department relating to the history, politics and culture of these three countries, but there are also academic staff with expertise in Italy, Greece and Central and Eastern Europe. The collaborative culture is visible institutionally in the department's role in the EU-awarded Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Law and Government, but also through an interdepartmental research group in European foreign policy. European & International Studies also works closely with the Department of War Studies, the Department of Political Economy and the Global Institutes through our association with the Politics@Kings initiative.
European & International Studies currently hosts more than 30 doctoral students who make a substantial contribution to the department’s research culture and collaborate with doctoral researchers from the Department of Political Economy in a regular workshop.
European & International Studies researchers have held or are holding research grants from major Research Councils (ESRC, ERC), the EU’s research framework programme as well as prestigious private foundations such as the Leverhulme Trust.