Adam Bower, Lecturer


Dr Adam Bower joined the School of International Relations as a Lecturer in October 2015. He is the Co-Director of the Centre for Global Constitutionalism (with Dr Mateja Peter) and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Institute for Legal and Constitutional Research at St Andrews.

Dr Bower previously held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oxford (Department of Politics and International Relations and Nuffield College) and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow). Dr Bower received his PhD in Political Science from the University of British Columbia in 2012.

Research areas

Dr Bower's research focuses on two main interrelated strands. Theoretically, he works primarily within the constructivist IR tradition and is interested in exploring the relationship between norms and processes of contestation and strategic action.

Substantively, Dr Bower’s work addresses questions of institutional change and efficacy in the fields of international law and governance, specifically international humanitarian law, the regulation and prohibition of ‘conventional’ weapons, and international criminal justice (especially the International Criminal Court).

Dr Bower is currently engaged in three research projects that address these broad themes:

  1. Contestation and the International Criminal Court.
  2. The instrumental use of norms in world politics, focusing on the strategic employment of accusations of norm violation in political disputes.
  3. The United States and the antipersonnel mine ban (funded by a Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant).



  • Norms Without the Great Powers: International Law and Changing Social Standards in World Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, January 2017.

Book chapters

  • “Networking for the Ban: Network Structure, Social Power, and the Movement to Ban Antipersonnel Mines.” In The New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance, edited by Deborah Avant and Oliver Westerwinter. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2016): 169-195.
  • (with Richard Price) “Moral Mission Accomplished? Assessing the Landmine Ban.” In Justice, Sustainability, and Security: Global Ethics for the 21st Century, edited by Eric A. Heinze. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2013): 131–169.


  • “Norms Without the Great Powers: International Law, Nested Social Structures, and the Ban on Antipersonnel Mines.” International Studies Review 17.3 (September 2015): 347-373.
  • “Arguing with Law: Strategic Legal Argumentation, US Diplomacy and Debates Over the International Criminal Court.” Review of International Studies 41.2 (April 2015): 337-360.


Dr Bower’s teaching interests are informed by his research agenda, and span IR theory; international law, organisations, and governance; and international humanitarian and criminal law.

  • IR1005: Introduction to International Relations - module coordinator.
  • IR1006: Foreign Policy and International Security - module coordinator
  • IR3073: Dilemmas of International Order: Governing Conflict and Human Rights - 2018
  • IR4567: The International Criminal Court in World Politics - ran in 2017
  • IR5061: Security and Justice Institutions in World Politics - ran in 2016 and 2017

Research students

Second supervisor

  • Piyanat Soikham

PhD supervision topics

Dr Bower is especially interested in supervising research on topics concerning:

  • IR theory (especially constructivist and associated approaches)
  • normative development and change
  • international law and organisations
  • the regulation of armed conflict (especially international humanitarian law and conventional weapons)
  • international criminal justice.

Further information

You may also be interested in Dr Bower’s personal website.