Research themes

Research within the School of International Relations is focused around three broad themes:

1. How should we understand and think about conflict, peace and security?

 At St Andrews, this includes research on:

  • political violence and terrorism
  • international security
  • conflict between (and within) state and non-state actors
  • institutional responses to conflict
  • post-war reconstruction
  • normative theories of war and peace
  • human rights
  • regional tensions
  • the social construction of conflict
  • the political economy of peace and violence.

2. How should we understand the evolving character of global and supra-national institutions?

This encompasses work on:

  • formal international institutions (for example, the UN, regional associations)
  • regimes (environment, non-proliferation)
  • ideas about and practices of global order (the rise of great powers, the possibilities of global constitutionalism and global justice)
  • the interface between international relations and international law.

3. How do we understand the interpenetration of civil societies and international relations?

This includes:

  • work on religion and politics
  • debates around trauma and memorialisation
  • work on the ways in which ‘hidden actors’ are represented and understood in international relations (for example, children)
  • ideas and practices revolving around human rights politics
  • the politics of resistance in the global south.

In addition, the School has major strengths in area studies which help to ground its research into these broad thematic areas. Some of this activity is carried out under the umbrella of its various research centres, some in collaborative contexts both within and outside the University, and some by individual researchers.