My research interests revolve around questions of state-society relations, governance, political economy,
sovereignty and intervention, particularly in postcolonial countries.
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. I focus
on the ways in which conflict between social classes and other societal groups generates different forms of state,
regime, and foreign policy, including different forms of intervention. I also study how intervention impacts on social
conflict, creating new contradictions and alliances that 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, and the state theory of Bob Jessop and Nicos Poulantzas. I am also becoming increasingly
interested in the insights offered by political geography and the politics involved in rescaling governance.
My recent research investigates 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
I have also produced a study of democratisation and foreign policy making in Southeast Asia which tried to account
for the limits of liberal-democratic influences on foreign policy, despite the formally democratic nature of many of the
region’s regimes. I have also written an article and chapter on state-building in East Timor which try to introduce the
notion of social conflict as a normal part of the development of states and understands Indonesian and UN-led state-
building efforts through its impact on this conflict.
My current research activities are:
a joint project on ‘Securitisation and the Governance of Non-Traditional Security in Southeast Asia and the
Southwest Pacific’ with Dr Shahar Hameiri of Murdoch University, Australia
‘How Do Economic Sanctions (Not) Work?’, a major project on the ways in which international economic
sanctions operate through target societies to effect regime change (or not)
£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?’,
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
£4,000 from the Westfield Trust for ‘Securitisation and the Governance of Non-Traditional Security in
Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific’, April 2010
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, and international relations
state-society relations and international politics.
I am happy to discuss ideas with prospective students - please email me with a short (say, 6-page) research
proposal and your CV. However, for procedural information on how to apply for doctoral studies at Queen Mary,
please see the department’s webpage.
My current PhD students are:
Boonwara Sumano: Labour liberalisation in ASEAN
I have written articles for, and been interviewed by journalists from, local, national and international print and
broadcast media, including: The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, The
Australian, Associated Press, BBC radio, BBC World TV, The Jakarta Post, The Irrawaddy, MalaysiaKini, Ireland’s
Talk Radio, and London’s Colourful Radio. I am a regular guest on the online radio station, Monocole 24.
My research background allows me to comment on areas including:
Domestic and International politics in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific
I have also written articles on or appeared on broadcast media to discuss other issues, including:
British domestic and foreign policy
Environmentalism and economic development
Animal research (as a former organiser of Pro-Test)
Academic freedom (I am a member of Academics for Academic Freedom).