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Politics and International Studies


Unit of Assessment
Research Assessment Exercise 2008




By percentage of research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard

UOA 39 Politics and International Studies

FTE Cat A Staff submitted for assessment






London School of Economics and Political Science







From China's embrace of Africa to the roots of the conflict in Kashmir, from the politics of London to the struggles of developing states, from the justification of equality to the legitimation of democracy, from patterns of voting to the religious dimension of political action, the research of the Politics and International Relations group of faculty at LSE shows an enormous global reach.

LSE's Departments of Government and of International Relations, along with specialists in politics and international studies from LSE's interdisciplinary Development Studies Institute (DESTIN), combine to deliver substantial bodies of regional research expertise in issues of importance in and to Europe, China, South-East Asia, Africa and the Middle East. For example, Professor Chris Alden's work on China's multi-billion dollar investments in oil and minerals in Africa and its newfound relationship with the struggling continent has fed into debates on this defining relationship; Professor John Sidel's work on religious violence in Indonesia has afforded a different understanding of these democratic and religious movements; and Professor Fred Halliday's "100 myths about the Middle East" has provided fresh perspectives on old conflicts.

This regional expertise is complemented by serious engagement of faculty in a number of LSE's prominent multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research centres. Three examples illustrate the range of involvement. Professors Mary Kaldor and David Held head the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, which brings together researchers from LSE's Departments of Government, International Relations, Law, Anthropology and Social Policy. The LSE Public Policy Group, directed by Professor Patrick Dunleavy, is engaged in policy evaluation work, with expertise in electoral systems, including developing experience in the analysis and assessment of digital era governance. Finally, LSE London, directed by Tony Travers, is recognised as the major source of expertise on city governance within LSE's Centre for Cities.

Much of this group's research feeds directly into policy debates and practice, as is typical within LSE. "This has always been an important part of the work of all the departments and centres that fall within this unit," said Professor Rodney Barker, head of the Government department. "This work includes briefing ambassadors, advising civil servants and government ministers and giving evidence to select committees as well as consultancy work for a wide variety of public and private bodies. But at the same time we are constantly communicating with a wider and more open audience through the press, radio, television, and the internet."

In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 30 per cent of the work of this group was described as 'world-leading', with a further 30 per cent described as 'internationally excellent'. 'We are pleased with this result,' said Professor Christopher Coker, Head of the International Relations Department, whose own area of expertise is the character of war. 'The results confirm the quality of our research, its global reach, its theoretical underpinning and its collaborative nature. We can do better still but we have made good progress.'

See Definitions of Quality| 4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and u/c

See RAE 2008 Analysis of Results| in the RPDD website for more detailed information.