Professor Keith Panter-Brick, 1920-2013

Professor Keith Panter-BrickThe Government Department wishes to announce the death of Professor Keith Panter-Brick, on Friday, 18 October 2013.

Keith Panter-Brick joined the Government Department at the LSE in 1950, until his retirement in 1985. He helped to build the fields of international relations and area studies into one of the foremost programs in the world, often working closely with Donald Cameron Watt.  His teaching extended to the International Relations Department, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, and institutions overseas. To students he was helpful and humane, gentle but entirely firm in upholding academic standards. He supervised students from Asia and Africa and helped to bridge departments and disciplines by combining philosophy, politics, and economics.  

He devoted most of his life to research on civil war and decolonization in Africa, spending many periods of sabbatical leave teaching at universities in Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  In particular, he was seconded from 1965 to 1967 as Professor of Public Administration, at Ahmadu Bello University, in northern Nigeria.  His extended stays in Africa sometimes involved danger; in 1967, he hurriedly took his wife and children out of Nigeria as the civil war broke out around them.

His published work included two landmark studies of Nigerian politics - Nigerian Politics and Military Rule: Prelude to the Civil War (1970), and Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeria (1978), and many articles in scholarly journals on prospects for democracy and the right to self-determination in the newly independent countries of African continent.  Long after retirement he remained a keen observer and active scholar of the emerging countries of the southern hemisphere, achieving particular preeminence as a scholar of the former French colonial empire.  His essay on 'Independence, French Style' (Decolonization and African Independence, 1988) still stands as a seminal and indispensable explanation of French decolonization.

Five years of hard labour in a POW camp convinced Keith to enter academic life.  Aspirations in adolescence to attend university, after graduating from Wallasey Grammar school in Merseyside, were dashed by family circumstances; instead, he secured an office job and joined the Territorial Army.  When mobilized in late summer 1939, he served in the Cheshire Regiment to defend the Maginot Line in eastern France. On 19 May 1940, Keith was driving the lead truck of his platoon, his Lieutenant a passenger to his left. They were ambushed, the Lieutenant killed in the first few seconds of gunfire, and Keith taken prisoner. He would spend five years in Stalag XXA and Arbeitskommando units in occupied Poland, working - as an ordinary soldier - the life of a virtual slave. There began the process of self-examination and reflection that would change the whole direction of his life. He told himself, hoeing fields of turnips, that if only he survived the war, he would endeavour to read philosophy.  

He taught himself German, survived ten weeks punishment in Graudenz prison for stealing some cheese, and in 1944, took the chance to escape but was recaptured attempting to board a Swedish ship. In 1945, caught up in the retreat of the German Army from the Russians on the Eastern Front, he survived the exhausting and murderous ten-week forced march out of Poland, walking from January to April some 500 km from Graudenz to Hanelin, through the heart of a brutal Polish winter. 

When the war ended, he sat the entrance examinations for Oxford, and went up to Keble College to read PPE. He then followed his first degree with a B.Phil. in politics. The book he published in 1999 – Years Not Wasted, 1940-45 – is grounded on the scraps of diary and postcards he wrote during his captivity – a picture of POW life based on de facto record, rather than fallible memory, of survival in adversity. This record includes his death certificate, reported by the War Office as ‘killed in action’ in May 1940, before a German radio broadcast reported that he was taken prisoner. Keith always demonstrated a deep humility, professed tolerance and reconciliation, and remembered that each day ‘life is hanging in the balance,’ thankful that his had been granted such a long extension. 

Keith met his wife, Simone, at Goettingen, in Germany, in 1947 – both had been selected to spend some weeks with German students, an initiative designed to help lift German universities out of post-war isolation. He came from Oxford, she from Lorraine, the first place in France his Cheshire regiment happened to have been posted. He knew no French, she knew no English - they talked at first in German. Their love and affection for each other carried them through six decades of married life, along a journey of remarkable faith; and while Keith wrote on governance, Simone wrote scholarly books on the practice of non-violence, up to her death in 2011. Keith and Simone are survived by a multicultural family, spread over four continents, including four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

[28 October 2013]


Professor Christian List awarded Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship

Christian List, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy in the Departments of Government and Philosophy at the LSE, has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, from October 2013 to September 2016. The Leverhulme Trust makes these awards to "enable well-established and distinguished researchers in the disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance".

Professor List's project is titled "Reasons, decisions, and intentional agency". The standard models of individual choice typically used in economics and the social sciences -- often called "rational choice theory" -- provide at most a simplistic account of human agency and decision making. The aim of Christian List's research, partly in collaboration with other scholars, is to develop a new approach to modelling intentional agency which improves upon standard rational-choice-theoretic models, incorporates insights from psychology and the philosophy of mind, is widely applicable, and illuminates the relationship between "reasons for action" and "rational decisions", which is not adequately captured by standard rational choice theory. Professor List will give particular attention to the philosophical question of how human intentional agency, with its apparent free will, is possible in the first place, given that the world seems to be fundamentally made up of non-intentional physical matter, governed by the laws of physics.

Christian List has been at the LSE since 2002. He held research or visiting positions at several other universities, including Oxford, the Australian National University, MIT, Princeton, and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala. He was awarded a Nuffield Foundation New Career Development Fellowship (with Franz Dietrich) in 2005, a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Philosophy in 2007, the 2010 Social Choice and Welfare Prize (also with Franz Dietrich), an L.S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship at Princeton University, and a Fellowship at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala. From 2007-2012, he served as Editor of Economics & Philosophy.

For further information about Christian List's research and links to downloadable articles, please see:|

For further information about Leverhulme Major Research Fellowships, please see:|

[11 January 2013]

Innovative LSE blogs win UK award for delivering powerful social science impact

An innovative series of academic blogs from LSE have found new ways of stimulating interest in the social sciences, scooping LSE Public Policy Group the Times Higher Education award for the best knowledge exchange initiative in higher education during 2011.

Judges at the THE’s Leadership and Management Awards praised the four LSE blogs for the "subtle and powerful" way they influence society and policy in stimulating comment and debate. Judges said that by encouraging hundreds of academics from the School and other universities to share their research and thinking with a wider audience, the blogs showed real impact.

The first of the blogs to be established, British Politics and Policy at LSE, is the highest-ranked university blog in the UK and the second-most read economics blog in the country. The Impact of Social Sciences blog - created to disseminate research from a project funded by the Higher Education Finding Council for England – has grown to become a leading international forum for debate on digital scholarship, government policy and publishing models, with around 5,000 visitors a week.

The PPG team, headed by Patrick Dunleavy, Professor in Government at LSE, also runs two newly created blogs - the European Politics and Policy blog (whose brand name is EUROPP ) and the LSE Review of Books. All four blogs bring together expertise from academics, policy-makers and analysts in order to promote social science debate, expressed though high-quality writing and editing.

Philip Graham, business alliance manager at Queen’s University Belfast and one of the judges, said that the LSE group had illustrated that knowledge exchange can be much wider than technology transfer and taken academics out of their 'comfort zone'. . He said:: “Their high-quality blog highlights real and important issues

“The comments and debates it generates influences stakeholders and policymakers in a much more subtle and powerful way than traditional lobbying. This is a real example of how social scientists do have, and can demonstrate, real impact.”

Professor Dunleavy said: "We are very pleased that the judges recognized the importance of multi-author blogs (and now Twitter) in finding new ways of connecting serious academic work with people who think deeply about social issues in business, government and the professions. It is a particular coup for the social sciences to win this award against strong competition from physical science projects with a great deal more funding than we have."

Jane Tinkler, manager of the Public Policy Group, said: "There is a huge appetite amongst well-educated graduates in the UK and overseas for reading and debating the latest thinking on public policy and social change. Our team would like to thank all the several hundred blog authors in LSE, other universities, think tanks and society who’ve helped build the readership of our blogs. "

Three of the blogs are funded by the LSE’s HIEF5 programme for Knowledge Exchange, and the ‘Impact of Social Sciences’ blog is directly funded as part of a Higher Education Funding Council for England research programme.

For more details see the four blogs at:

British Politics and Policy
|Impact of Social Sciences|
LSE Review of Books
|European Politics and Policy| 

Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2012

LSE has been nominated in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2012 in the Knowledge Exchange/Transfer category, for PPG's School-wide blog initiative. LSE has been shortlisted with 6 other institutions and the results will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place on the 21 June.  [Read the full shortlist|].

[19 April 2012]

LSE bloggers divine the future of academia in European politics

Website will 'maximise' impact by bringing debate to policymakers and public.

The editor of a new multidisciplinary blog run by London School of Economics academics has argued that the medium is "fundamental" for modern-day academics and their research output.

Patrick Dunleavy, professor of political science and public policy, was speaking about the launch of the European Politics and Policy (EUROPP) blog, the central mission of which is "to increase the public understanding of social science in the contexts of European governance and policy making" across the European Union and other European countries.

LSE has been a pioneer in the academic blogosphere, and EUROPP is a continuation of its British Politics and Policy (BPP) blog, created in the run-up to the 2010 general election. Read the full article in the THE| 

[19 April 2012]

LSE Public Policy Group launch the LSE Review of Books Blog

The LSE Review of Books seeks to encourage public engagement with and understanding of the social sciences, via involvement with their best written and most accessible products – books and ebooks.  Read the LSE Review of Books|

[19 April 2012]


Workers' austerity concerns win concessions from IMF, finds new study

Stephanie RickardWorkers in debt-ridden countries get sympathetic treatment from the International Monetary Fund, which is not the big bad wolf of popular myth, a new study suggests.

While the IMF demands reforms from countries seeking loans in times of economic crisis, the new research shows that it listens to the views of citizens, especially in democracies, and may soften the labour conditions it sets when they protest. For example, mass demonstrations in Greece during 2011 when the country took extreme austerity measures led the IMF to make compromises over wages, pensions and job numbers.

The authors of the study, published in the journal International Organization, say their findings suggest that international bodies, including the IMF, are more likely to respond to domestic politics than to constrain them.

Dr Stephanie Rickard (pictured), a lecturer in government at LSE and one of the paper's authors, said: 'Our findings suggest that democratic governments represent workers' interests at the international bargaining table and the IMF is responsive to these interests. This contradicts the conventional wisdom which assumes that international bodies can ignore domestic concerns in setting conditions for loans.' More |

[Feb 2012]



LSE Public Policy Group ranked among world's most influential think tanks

On 25 January, the LSE Public Policy Group was jointly named the world's fourth-best university think tank in a global survey. The rankings, in the annual report of the Think Tank and Civic Society Program of the University of Pennsylvania, compared more than 5,300 think tanks from 120 countries.

Think tanks were assessed on categories including their ability to produce rigorous research, contribute socially innovative ideas and to bridge the gap between policymakers and the public. Reputation among academics, peers and the media was also a factor in the outcome.

Professor Patrick Dunleavy, chair of the Public Policy Group, said: 'Our work is, by definition, about helping to develop better government and public administration so it is pleasing that the benefits the team bring to society have been recognised. Academic work must have public impact to be truly valuable.'

The foreign affairs centre LSE IDEAS was also named jointly as the world's fourth-best university think tank in the survey.

Professor Michael Cox, co-director of IDEAS, said: 'We created IDEAS four years ago to try and make a difference by infusing the best academic thinking into global debates on world affairs and it is very gratifying that others feel we've done this. I am especially pleased that this reflects the hard work put in by all our colleagues over this and past years.

Professor Arne Westad, co-director of IDEAS, said: 'Our job is just beginning though – world affairs are moving as fast as we can track them and the need for rigorous analysis and insight is greater than ever.'

The report's publishers said their main aim was to bring international recognition for the important role played by think tanks around the world

The Think Tank and Civic Society Program announced the rankings at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

[Jan 2012]