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Research Centre in International Relations


Members of the Centre are currently engaged in conducting research and writing publications on the following themes:

  • The government of security and liberty.
  • Changing temporalities, uncertain futures, risk and resilience.
  • The postcolonial international and the constitution of political space.
  • Cosmopolitanism as a political project.
  • Culture and International Relations.
  • Human Rights, Ethics, and International Relations.
  • Materiality and the political.
  • Intervention, peacebuilding and the re-shaping of societies.
  • Mobility and politics beyond community.
  • Social media and reinventions of community.

Current Projects


The  Research Center in International Relations of King’s College London is currently involved in the SOURCE Network of Excellence. Funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, this project started in January 2014 and will end in December 2018. Coordinated by the Peace Research Center of Oslo (PRIO), the SOURCE Network of Excellence aims at creating a robust and sustainable virtual centre of excellence capable of exploring and advancing societal issues in security research and development. The SOURCE Network of Excellence is built upon five types of activities: networking activities, research, information gathering, education and training, and knowledge-sharing. A great deal of the fundamental research activity falls to the RCIR, which is in charge of conducting Workpackage 4 on mapping the professionals and institutions of societal security in Europe. To this end, RCIR is developping a set of methodological principles articulating qualitative and quantitative methods. It will then study discourses on societal security, conduct interviews with top- and middle-management of EU security agencies such as Frontex, Europol, or ENISA. Particular emphasis will also be put on the role that private firms play in defining the relations between society and security in Europe. 

See also:

SOURCE team 

Claudia Aradau

Didier Bigo

Vivienne Jabri

Médéric Martin-Mazé

Security practices

Add your content here The lexicon of security has increasingly expanded to encompass more and more social, economic and political areas. RCIR members conduct research on security understood not as a state to be achieved, but as a practice. They have analysed discursive practices and bureaucratic routines, media representations and expert interventions to understand the implications that security has for democratic life. The Changing Landscape of European Security and Liberty (Challenge project) was a flagship project, which challenged ideas about the balance between security and liberty and explored the exceptional and routine practices of the ‘war on terror’.  Centre members also conduct research on the transformation of security practices, from traditional national security towards emergency, prevention, preparedness and resilience. They therefore seek to develop an understanding of war and security in terms of the government of populations, and within this remit, analyse the relations between security practices, law and crime.

Political activism and resistance

Communities are not only constituted through the invocation of risk and danger, but through the contestation of boundaries and resistance to war, insecurity and violence. Centre members are particularly interested in the transformation of activism and resistance through digital technologies, the possibilities of resistance in a globalised world, the role of human rights and citizenship.  They have challenged the categorisation and representation of migrants and refugees as dangerous and have shown how marginalised people enact themselves as political agents. They have deployed Marxist, poststructuralist, feminist, and postcolonial perspectives to understand how political claims are made and political subjects emerge within and against dominant power structures and governmental spaces.

Social and political theory of the international

Members of the Centre seek to conceptualise and theorise what we refer to as ‘the international’ and do so from a number of perspectives, including normative international theory and moral philosophy, aesthetic theory, critical theory, poststructuralism, postcolonial, and feminist thought. Making distinctive theoretical and methodological contributions in International Relations, our Centre draws on and mobilises these perspectives in investigations of how specific practices, including political violence, war, conflict, identity formations, peacebuilding and statebuilding affect transformations of the international as a distinctive socio-political and juridical space. 

International Political Sociology Reading Group


The group places much importance on the type of methods called upon within research, techniques used to implement a methodology and whether these methods can be combined, as on the object of research itself. Mirroring the DTC’s calls to combine both ‘conventional’ and ‘critical’ perspectives, the group’s approach aims to examine such diverse narrative paths as the structural approaches of Bourdieu and Marx to the constructivist and linguistic approaches of Wittgenstein and Foucault, questioning to what extent these methods can be combined or related, whilst at the same time engaging with such approaches in a reflexive manner.

The group will engage with an array of methodologies such as intertextuality, critical hermeneutics and genealogy to quali-quantitative methods such as prosopography and discuss the relating of these methods to produce a destabilisation of how we view the ‘international’ and to question its limits and boundaries.


 The group is currently running three sets of activities:

a) A series of reading meetings on Pierre Bourdieu`s works, generating debates regarding one form of sociological-inspired approach to IR.

b) A series of joint reading meetings with students from the Open University`s CCIG on "Power and Resistance". The reading meetings aim at gathering some common thoughts and conclusions regarding the texts. 

Notes from previous meetings can be found via the links below.

c) Annual doctoral training workshops with Sciences Po, the Open University, the University of Victoria (Canada), the University of Hawaii, and PUC - Rio - Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.

Previous Projects

Liberty & Security

Challenge: Liberty and Security website integrates findings from CHALLENGE (The Changing Landscape of European Liberty and Security, a European Commission funded FP6 project) in an innovative multi-media teaching and training module. Combining texts, video and audio, it critically engages with debates about balancing liberty and security in the European Union, including the changing nature of border controls and war.



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