Professor James Hughes

Professor James Hughes

Professor of Comparative Politics

Department of Government

Room No
CBG 3.33
Office Hours
By appointment
Connect with me

Key Expertise
Political Violence, Terrorism, Peace Processes

About me

Jim Hughes is Professor of Comparative Politics, and Director of the Conflict Research Group. He 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. His recent research and publications focus on understanding violent political conflict and terrorism, and the problem of post-conflict reconciliation. Earlier work concentrated on democratisation, secession, and national and ethnic conflict in the Former Soviet Union and the Balkans, and the role of the EU in Eastern Europe.

He has authored nine books, and more than fifty articles and chapters. His major works include Rethinking Reconciliation and Transitional Justice After Conflict (Routledge, 2018), EU Conflict Management (Routledge, 2010), and Chechnya from Nationalism to Jihad (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

He graduated with a BSc (Combined Honours) First Class in Political Science and Ancient History from Queen's University Belfast in 1982. 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). His extensive consultancy work has included providing expert advice to governments, international organizations, multinational corporations, and NGOs. He has had lengthy consultancy roles with UNDP in Eastern Europe, and the Open Society Institute’s Academic Fellowship Program in Kosovo and Macedonia. He has led major research projects funded by the UK ESRC, and European Union. He was an elected member of the Executive Committee of the UK Political Studies Association (1997-2000), a member of the Advisory Board of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (1999-2002), and is currently a member of the International Advisory Board of the European Centre for Minority Issues.

His current work encompasses critiques of radicalization and terrorism studies, and the repertoires of violence used by states and non-state groups, in particular with regard to the analysis of civilian victimization.

Research interests

  • Comparative study of political violence and terrorism
  • Peace processes, Reconciliation and Transitional Justice
  • Democratization and Statebuilding

Teaching responsibilities

  • GV4A8: Nationalist Conflict, Political Violence and Terrorism
  • GV4E3: Democratization and Statebuilding
  • 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.