Professor James Hughes

Professor James Hughes

Professor of Comparative Politics

Department of Government

+44 (0)207 955 6898
Room No
CON 5.05
Office Hours
Currently on leave (MT, LT & ST 2018/19)
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About me

Jim Hughes is Professor of Comparative Politics, Convenor of the MSc Conflict Studies, and Director of the Conflict Research Group. His research and publications span the study of political violence and terrorism,democratisation, secession, national and ethnic conflict in the Former Soviet Union and the Balkans, and the role of the EU in democratisation and conflict resolution.

The author, co-author or editor of seven books, his major studies include critiques of the role of international conditionality and intervention during EU enlargement The Myth of Conditionality (Palgrave, 2004) and of the EU's developing conflict resolution capacity EU Conflict Management (Routledge, 2010). His Chechnya from Nationalism to Jihad (University of Philadelphia Press, 2007) was widely acclaimed. He has published more than forty articles and chapters, including analyses of the EU's role in the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Kosovo, and "ethnic democracy" and discrimination against Russophones in the Baltic States.

Professor Hughes joined the LSE as lecturer in 1994 and was promoted successively to Senior Lecturer (1998), Reader (2002) and Professor (2007). He previously taught at the universities of Surrey, Keele and Trinity College Dublin.

He graduated with a BSc (Combined Honours) First Class in Political Science and Ancient History from Queen's University Belfast in 1982, and was awarded two university prizes. He took his PhD at LSE (1982-7), which included a study year at Moscow State University as a British Council Scholar Abroad (1985-6). His PhD and following research in Soviet and Russian archives, including long periods of fieldwork in Siberia, resulted in two monographs which were landmarks in the study of Stalinism and mass killings and genocide in the Soviet countryside (published by Cambridge University Press in 1991 and Macmillan in 1996).

His distinguished fellowships include a Nuffield Social Science Fellowship (1994-5) and a Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence (2001-02). He has given invited lectures at leading international universities (including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Sciences-Po, European University Institute and others). His extensive consultancy work has included providing expert advice to governments, international organizations, multinational corporations, and NGOs. He has led major research projects funded by the UK ESRC, Nuffield Foundation and European Union (INTAS, Tempus, and Sixth Framework).

From 2005 to 2011 he helped to create and develop as co-editor the UNDP analytical brief 'Development and Transition' which covers the UNDP's activities in the post-communist region in Europe and Eurasia. He was an elected member of the Executive Committee of the UK Political Studies Association (1997-2000), an appointed member of the Advisory Board of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (1999-2002), and is currently an invited member of the International Advisory Board of the influential European Centre for Minority Issues based in Flensburg.

In 2012 Professor Hughes will work with the Open Society Institute as part of its Academic Fellowship Program to develop political science at the University of Prishtina, Kosovo. Professor Hughes's research and consultancy work has involved long periods of fieldwork and hundreds of interviews in almost all of the countries of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Ukraine.

His current work encompasses radicalization and political violence broadly, with a focus on the relationship between communities, movements engaged in ideologically motivated violence, and state responses.

Research interests

  • Comparative study of conflict and conflict resolution
  • Political violence and terrorism
  • Peace processes and statebuilding
  • Policy responses of democracies and authoritarian states to political violence

Teaching responsibilities

  • GV4A8: Nationalist Conflict, Political Violence and Terrorism
  • GV4G4: Comparative Conflict Analysis


EU Conflict Management
(Routledge, London, 2010 (editor); a special issue of the journal Ethnopolitics 8:3, 2009)

The EU's self promotion as a 'conflict manager' is embedded in a discourse about its 'shared values' and their foundation in a connection between security, development and democracy. This book provides a collection of essays based on the latest cutting edge research into the EU's active engagement in conflict management. It maps the evolution of EU policy and strategic thinking about its role, and the development of its institutional capacity to manage conflicts.

Case studies of EU conflict management within the Union, in its neighbourhood and further afield, explore the consistency, coherence, and politicization of EU strategy at the implementation stage. The essays examine the extent to which the EU can exert influence on conflict dynamics and outcomes. Such influence depends on a number of changing factors: how the EU conceptualizes conflict and policy solutions; the balance of interests within the EU on the issue (divided or concerted) and the degree of politicization in the EU's role; the scope for an external EU role; and the value attached by the conflict parties to EU engagement – a value that is almost wholly bound to their interest in a membership perspective (or other strong relationship to the EU) rather than to 'shared values' as an end in themselves.

This book was based on a special issue of Ethnopolitics.

My research