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Politics and international studies
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Politics and International Studies

Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at The Open University has an international reputation for research in Comparative Politics, International Relation and Political Theory, including regional focus on Africa, Asia and Latin America. Research within POLIS is organised around five research areas: British and comparative politics; citizenship studies; democracy and social movements; international relations and global politics; and political ideas. With more than 400 publications included in the Open University’s Online Repository, POLIS academics are active in the Strategic Research Areas in Citizenship and Governance and International Development and other transdisciplinary research clusters that bring together researchers from across the social sciences, promote public engagement and knowledge exchange, and contribute to theoretical and methodological innovation within social science research.

Key facts

  • POLIS researchers have published works on the role of narratives in international relations, British foreign and security policies, contemporary Iranian politics and foreign policy, the politics of the Belt and Road Initiative in South Asia, political history and biography, and contemporary social and political thought.
  • Researchers in POLIS have recently led a number of projects including: “Sectarianism, Proxies & De-sectarianisation” (SEPAD) in the Middle East; Leverhulme-funded research on ‘Noncitizenism and the Global Compact for Migration’; an AHRC funded grant, ‘Picturing Climate: Participatory Photography and Narrative Storytelling for Climate Change Education’; and a Tate Modern and Counterpoints Arts knowledge exchange programme titled “Who Are We?” ( exploring issues of citizenship, democracy, migration, identity and belonging.
  • POLIS researchers have contributed with commentaries and analyses to national and international media, including CNN, France 24, the Guardian, Sputnik International World Service and BBC radio.
  • POLIS members have engaged with policy makers, including the Digital, culture, media and sport Select committee, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee and the Ministry of Defence.
  • POLIS PhD students conduct research on issues including women’s political participation and digital citizenship in Africa; child labour and children’s rights in Latin America; British political institutions; social movements and democracy in Europe; and the politics of migration and asylum.
  • POLIS members are editors or board members of international academic journals and book series, including: Asia Maior, Citizenship Studies, Higher Education Studies, Journal of Education and Training Studies; an MUP book series on 'Geopolitics and Identities in the Middle East', and Palgrave’s “Developments in British Politics” textbook.
  • POLIS Researchers are Convenors of specialist groups in the British International Studies Association (BISA), the Political Studies Association (PSA), and the Development Studies Association (DSA).