Research Projects

Ethnic Politics in postcommunist Europe

The aim of this ongoing research led by Professor Erika Harris is to explore contemporary identity politics in post-communist Europe and re-assess the methodologies with which we study ethnicity in Eastern and Central Europe. Ethnic politics refers to the promotion and articulation of cultural distinctiveness vis-à-vis other ethnic/national groups whereby the process impacts on the political agenda within and between the states of the region. The project which was originally funded by the British Academy is concerned with the following themes:

  • Dissolution and emergence of state
  • Interethnic relations in Central Europe and Western Balkans
  • Citizenship laws and minority rights
  • Democratisation and Europeanisation processes
  • Ethnic regions

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The Dynamics of Nationalist Evolution in Contemporary Spain

The Dynamics of Nationalist Evolution in Contemporary Spain focuses on the Catalan and Basque Nationalist movements, exploring their relations with central government since the 1990s. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of why regionally-based nationalist movements have experienced different relationships with the Spanish state over time.

At times, the Basque and Catalan nationalist parties represented in Madrid have lent support to minority Spanish governments; on other occasions, they have pressed for greater autonomy or even independence, as seen most recently in Catalonia.

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Nationalisms in Spain … and Europe

The Dynamics of Nationalist Evolution in Contemporary Spain focuses on the Catalan and Basque Nationalist movements, exploring their relations with central government since the 1990s. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of why regionally-based nationalist movements have experienced different relationships with the Spanish state over time.

At times, the Basque and Catalan nationalist parties represented in Madrid have lent support to minority Spanish governments; on other occasions, they have pressed for greater autonomy or even independence, as seen most recently in Catalonia.

While Spain provides a rich laboratory for the analysis of nationalist evolution, the ultimate aim of the project is to promote wider European comparisons and to understand the implications of sovereignty-based challenges for member states and the European Union.

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Tackling Exploitation in Employment: Shaping the UK Response to Human Trafficking and Forced Labour

This research programme led by Dr Alex Balch is made up of a series of projects completed or underway that focus on the challenges which governments face when attempting to tackle the crime of human trafficking.

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Borders, sovereignty and self-determination in contemporary Europe

Professor Erika Harris has joined international collaborative project on borders, sovereignty and self-determination in contemporary Europe.

For some, the European Union and the broader framework of European security and human rights have lowered the threshold and costs of independence. Others look beyond the nation-state model altogether, to a ‘post-sovereign’ order in which sovereignty is pooled and shared at multiple levels. Neither the states nor the EU as a whole have developed consistent normative and legal principles for dealing with these challenges. The project, which will include the disciplines of political science, international relations and law, aims to address these linked issues, through new conceptualizations and approaches to borders and self-determination in contemporary Europe.