Dr Nicholas Lees BA, MA, Dphil

Lecturer in International Politics Politics


International Politics, Conflict and Inequality

My research contributes to the study of international politics through engagement with theory and evidence from conflict studies and political economy. I believe that research over the past two decades calls into question many of the claims of established perspectives on international relations, undermining the arbitrary distinction between international relations and comparative politics.

One aspect of my current research focuses on the 'social market peace' hypothesis that economic security within labour markets provides the foundation for the enduring peace between the advanced capitalist democracies. This project explores the connections between economic structures, struggles for citizenship rights and the global spread of the liberal international order. If the social market peace hypothesis is true, it has enormous implications for the future of international liberalism in an era of increased economic insecurity.

Another aspect of my research examines state and nation-building as one of the central processes in world politics. A disproportionate number of international conflicts arise from the birth of new states, the emergence of new states, and the efforts of states to establish state-nation coherence by seizing territory. Civil wars and political transitions are driven by the relation of the state to major population groups within its territory and the development of ethnic and class divisions. Understanding these processes means taking the historical development of the state-system seriously, rather than treating it as a given.

I also have a longstanding interest in patterns of global economic inequality and their causes, particularly how the uneven timing of economic development and the expansion of the global division of labour shape the economic fortunes of regions, states and social groups.

PGR Supervision

I would be interested in supervising postgraduate students with a research project in any of the following areas:

International relations theory, particularly the theoretical development and empirical evaluation of the English School, world-systems and other approaches with a historical focus.

Conflict studies and the political economy of international conflict.

Foreign policy analysis, especially as pertaining to theories of decision-making.

The politics of democracy and authoritarianism in world politics, especially in Southeast Asia.

The Politics of Global Inequality