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Dr Oisín Tansey

Reader in Comparative and International Politics


Tansey2018Department of War Studies

Room K6.46

King's College London

Strand, London, WC2R 2LS


Tel: 020 7848  2054

Office hours: Wednesdays 2-4pm (term time)



I am Reader in International Relations, and joined King’s College London in 2012. I hold a masters degree in International Relations from Cambridge and obtained a DPhil from Oxford (Nuffield College) in 2007. I held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Oxford in 2007, before joining the Politics and International Relations Department at the University of Reading as a Lecturer in International Relations for five years from 2007-2012. My research focuses on the international politics of authoritarian rule, regime change, and post-conflict international state-building.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on democracy, authoritarianism and post-conflict political transitions.

I am currently the Principal Investigator of an ESRC-funding research project on United Nations peacebuilding and regime change. Along with Sarah von Billerbeck (Reading) and Birte Gippert (Liverpool), we are examining the ways in which UN peacebuilding missions contribute to both democratic and non-democratic outcomes in conflict and post-conflict settings. 

I am also pursuing research on the international influences on coups and other forms of unconstitutional changes of government. This work focuses in particular on the way in which international actors have developed norms and rules that seek to constrain and punish coup leaders. It also seeks to assess the extent to which these international efforts influence the political trajectories of post-coup regimes.

From 2012-2016, I oversaw a €1million grant from the European Research Council on ‘The International Dimensions of Authoritarian Rule’. The project examined the ways in which international factors influence authoritarian transitions and consolidation, with a particular focus on state-driven sponsorship of authoritarian governments.   




  • Regional Autocratic Linkages and Regime Survival’, with Alexander Schmotz, European Journal of Political Research, 57 (3), 2018.
  • ‘Lowest Common Denominator Norm Institutionalization: The Anti-Coup Norm at the United Nations’, Global Governance, 24 (2), 2018.  
  • (with Kevin Koehler and Alexander Schmotz) ‘Ties to the Rest: Autocratic Linkages and Regime Survival’, Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 50, No. 9, 2017. 
  • The Fading of the Anti-Coup Norm’, Journal of Democracy, Vol.28, No.1, 2017.
  • ‘The Limits of the “Democratic Coup” Thesis: International Politics and Post-Coup Authoritarianism’, Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol.1, No.3, 2016. 
  • ‘The Problem with Autocracy Promotion’ Democratization, Vol.23, No,1, 2016, pp.141-163.
  • 'Evaluating The Legacies of State-building: East Timor in Comparative Perspective', International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 58, No.1, 2014
  • 'Internationalized Regimes: Exploring a Second Dimension of Hybridity', Democratization, Vol.20, No.7, 2013, 
  • 'State-building and the Limits of Institutional Design', in Dominik Zaum and Mats Berdal (eds) The Political Economy of State-building, Routledge, 2013. 
  • 'Kosovo's Divided Statehood', World Politics Review, May 31, 2011. 
  • 'Does Democracy Need Sovereignty?', Review of International Studies, Vol.37, No.4, 2011, pp.1515-1536.
  • ‘Kosovo: Independence and Tutelage', Journal of Democracy, Vol.20, No.2, 2009, pp.153-166.
  • (with Dominik Zaum) 'Muddling Through in Kosovo', Survival, Vol.51, No.1, 2009, pp.13-20. 
  • 'The Complexity of Western Diplomacy: A Reply to Beate Jahn', Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol.2, No.1, 2008, pp.87-98. 
  • 'The Concept and Practice of Democratic Regime-building', International Peacekeeping, Vol.14, No.5, 2007, pp.633-646. 
  • 'Process Tracing and Elite Interviewing: A Case for Non-probability Sampling', PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol.40, No.4, October 2007. 
  • ‘Democratization without a State: Democratic Regime-building in Kosovo’. Democratization. Vol.14, No.1, 2007.
For a full list of publications, please refer to the Research Portal.

I currently teach the following modules:

  • 7SSWM096 Authoritarianism and International Politics
  • 7SSWM140 Security, and Development
  • PhD Research Methods Workshop Series
  • MA Dissertation Methods Workshop Series  
PhD Supervision

I am happy to offer supervision in the following broad areas:

  • Democratization and authoritarian politics
  • International democracy/autocracy promotion
  • International peace-building and state-building
  • Post-conflict political reconstruction 


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