Research Interests My research interests revolve around questions of state-society relations, state transformation, governance, political economy, sovereignty and intervention, particularly in postcolonial countries. My particular empirical expertise is in the politics, political economy and international relations of Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific more generally, though I have also worked on Iraq, South Africa and Israel/ Palestine. Working in the tradition of critical, historical-sociological approaches in International Relations, my work draws out the importance of domestic and transnational social conflict and political economy for international politics. From an ‘outside-in’, perspective, I examine how conflict between social classes and other groups generates different forms of state, regime, and foreign policy, including different forms of intervention and international governance arrangements. From an ‘inside-out’ perspective, I explore how external interventions - such as sanctions, state-building interventions and other attempts to transform domestic governance - are mediated through social conflicts and change political outcomes in target states. My work has been particularly influenced by the critical political economy approach pioneered at the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Australia, the state theory of Bob Jessop and Nicos Poulantzas, and more recently by critical political geography, particularly its emphasis on scale and rescaling socio-political conflicts and state apparatuses. My first book, ASEAN, Sovereignty and Intervention in Southeast Asia, investigated the interventions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia, East Timor and Burma from the 1960s onwards. Attacking the overwhelming scholarly and journalistic consensus on ASEAN as a group of states that never interferes in any other states' internal affairs, I argue that ASEAN has indeed intervened, both within ASEAN and without, often very seriously and with sometimes devastating consequences. My second book, Governing Borderless Threats, co-authored with my long-term collaborator Prof Shahar Hameiri, investigates how non-traditional security issues are governed. Drawing on state theory, political economy and political geography, it builds a new analytical framework - the State Transformation Approach - that draws attention to efforts to transform domestic state apparatuses managing particular security issues, networking them across state borders and encouraging them to impose international discipline on other parts of their state and society. This state transformation process is, we show, profoundly shaped by social conflict rooted in the political economy of specific issue areas. We present case studies of environmental degradation, pandemic disease and transnational crime in the Asia-Pacific. Many scholarly articles also arose from this Australian Research Council-funded project. My third book, Societies Under Siege: Exploring How International Economic Sanctions (Do Not) Work, does exactly what the title suggests. Moving past the debate on whether sanctions work, it explores how they work, or fail to work. Via a new framework, Social Conflict Analysis, it suggests that sanctions condition the power, resources and strategies of societal groups in target states, thereby conditioning processes of socio-political conflict and the transformation (or otherwise) of states and regimes. Tracing this societal “transmission belt” helps reveal the reasons why most sanctions regimes fail. Case studies include South Africa, Iraq and Myanmar. This research was funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council. For more details click here. My other work has show how social conflict and political economy relations condition various outcomes in domestic and international politics, including: the making of foreign and security policy in Southeast Asia; state-building interventions in East Timor; the failure of the ASEAN Economic Community; and the evolution of Myanmar’s economy and regime.   My current research is focused on a new project with Prof Shahar Hameiri (University of Queensland): state transformation and the rise of China. We are exploring how the state transformation processes identified in Governing Borderless Threats - the fragmentation, decentralisation and internationalisation of state apparatuses - are conditioning China’s rise in its near abroad. Against mainstream IR approaches that depict China as a classically “Westphalian” state pursuing a coherent “grand strategy”, we are investigating how state transformation is generating fragmented, incoherent and sometimes contradictory policy outputs, with serious consequences for China’s foreign and security policies and their effects overseas. A “prospectus” article has appeared in the European Journal of International Relations and is currently (as of March 2016) that journal’s fourth most-read article of all time. We are seeking funding to scale up the project and enable the extensive fieldwork required. Research Income Total of £422,257 since 2009, comprising: - £70,500 from the British Academy/ Newton Fund for a Newton Advanced Fellowship for Dr Cheng-Chwee Kuik (February 2016). - £6,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide a training course on Myanmar and Bangladesh (January 2016). - £26,000 from the National University of Singapore/ Stanford University for the Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Fellowship on Southeast Asia, 2014/15. - £1,000 from SPIR for a workshop on the Political Economy of the New Security Agenda. - £3,000 from ASEASUK for ‘Securitisation and the Governance of Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific’ (April 2011) - £127,557 from the Economic and Social Research Council for ‘How Do Economic Sanctions (Not) Work?’, December 2010 - AU$310,000 (c.£192,000) from the Australian Research Council for Securitisation and the Governance of Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific’ with Dr Shahar Hameiri, November 2010 - £4,000 from the Westfield Trust for Securitisation and the Governance of Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific’, April 2010 PhD Supervision I would be delighted to supervise doctoral theses in the following areas: - the international politics of Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific - the politics of sovereignty and intervention - international economic sanctions - historical sociology/ historical materialism/ political economy/ state-society relations and international relations - global or regional governance - non-traditional security I am happy to discuss ideas with prospective students - please email me with a short (2,000 word) research proposal and your CV. However, for procedural information on how to apply for doctoral studies at Queen Mary, please see the School’s webpage. My current PhD students are: - Lan Katarina Schippers: Internalisation of external interests and the strategic dimensions of statehood: The impact of trade-related technical assistance on the Lao and Vietnamese forms of state.
Lee Jones                                     Research Teaching Research Media Publications Articles Blog