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Tackling global issues, shaping global agendas

Our research interests and areas are constantly evolving based on what’s happening in the world at any given moment.

Our research expertise enables us to respond to key political events and issues, and to shape the agendas around them. Researching the political effects of a wide range of issues from climate change, genocide, and development, to the reconfiguration of Europe, the constitution of the UK, and the ongoing legacies of colonialism.

Nothing is static in the world of research but we’ve grouped together some of the areas we’re currently asking pertinent questions about and seeking to find out more.

The flag of Wales

Wales in the World

Both Welsh Government and Senedd Wales, Wales’ Parliament are based in Cardiff which mean our location lends itself to our world leading commentary and research on the governance and global role of Wales.

From recent interdisciplinary analysis of the challenges that devolution poses for the Welsh criminal justice system, carried out by Dr Robert Jones and Professor Richard Wyn Jones, to one of our leading experts, Professor Laura McAllister co-chairing the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, our research regularly informs policy aimed at producing a fairer and more prosperous society, and informs the world about Welsh values. We undertake innovative research into all aspects of the law, politics, government and political economy of Wales, as well the wider UK and European contexts of territorial governance.

A phone with information about cryptocurrency on the screen.

Secrecy and Intelligence

We are fascinated by the role that secrecy and intelligence plays in societies and in global politics.

From Dr Martin Horton-Eddison’s work on the murkiness of Crypto-Drug Markets, to Dr Thomas Leahy’s award-winning book The Intelligence War Against the IRA, which demonstrates how misguided many popular perceptions on how British Intelligence operations impacted conflict in Northern Ireland were, our research is shining a light for scholars and policymakers on how secrecy and intelligence shapes political practices of accountability and control.

We are also at the forefront of promoting inclusion in the field of intelligence studies. Dr Claudia Hillebrand is a board member of the Women’s Intelligence Network which actively supports women interested in a typically male-dominated field of research, and together with Dr Huw Bennett she has published on the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in intelligence studies research.

A map of the world showing the colonial British empire

Colonialism, Post-Colonialism, and Anti-Colonialism

How was colonialism contested? What ongoing effects does colonialism have for relations within and between states? What can decolonial politics and thinking tell us about power?

These are just some of the questions that our researchers examine. Dr Dorothy Kwek researches decolonial thought and its ongoing relevance. Professor Branwen Gruffydd Jones focuses on African independence movements, with particular interest in the ideas and practices of Amílcar Cabral and his fellow militants. Dr Elisa Wynne-Hughes’s research examines how neo-colonialism shapes the practice of tourism and, focusing on Egypt, questions how tourism can re-entrench local and global inequalities.

A young woman holds a sign in protest against global warming

Climate change and Global Governance

Climate change is arguably the most significant of all political challenges. Its importance is reflected in our impressive group of experts who research a vast array of topics in the field.

Dr Jennifer Allan’s research examines how global rules on climate change are made and remade, sometimes through the influence of activists. Dr Allan actively participates in the processes she studies and is prolific at COP events, most recently at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh. Dr Stavros Afionis also researches international climate change negotiations and draws on this expertise as a member of the Climate and Environment Taskforce of Think7, the official think tank of the G7.

Our academics also focus on other issues that shape practices and trends in how the world is governed. Dr Hannes Hansen-Magnusson researches how the changing climate shape relations between Arctic and non-Arctic entities while Professor Edwin Egede explores how the African region interacts with regimes, such as ocean law and governance, maritime security, human rights and international organisations.

Government building with police tape blocking entry

Populism, Extremism, and Politics

From the rise and fall of Donald Trump and the resurgence of other populist figures and movements, to the political struggles encapsulated by the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter movements, contemporary politics is beset with questions about the character of democracy and the threats that populist and extremist ideas pose to it.

Recent research by Professor Marysia Zalewski examines the feminist disbelief that marked the election of Donald Trump, bringing with it an unbridled and globalised re-securing of virulent (white) patriarchy that many thought dead and gone.

Along with co-authors, Dr Ian Stafford questions the decline of public trust in government and the barriers to re-building it. In The Populist Manifesto, Dr Emmy Eklundh, and a team of leading scholars, focus on changing the academic debate about political populism. They argue that populism is not simply a negative aspect of politics but should be regarded as another way of doing politics. Dr Haro Karkour’s research alerts us to some of the challenges that extreme nationalism and violence pose for international order, but also how to challenge it, and Professor Victoria Basham’s recent research argues that focusing on how societies respond to disorderly events reveals how the international is made.