Dr Luke  Cooper

Dr Luke Cooper

Associate Professorial Research Fellow and Director of PeaceRep’s Ukraine Programme

Conflict and Civicness Research Group

Key Expertise
Peace, Conflict, Nationalism, Authoritarianism

About me

Dr Luke Cooper is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow with the Conflict and Civicness Research Group and Director of PeaceRep’s Ukraine programme. Dr Cooper is a historical sociologist and political scientist, whose work studies processes of change and transformation within and between societies. He has written extensively on nationalism, authoritarianism and the theory of uneven and combined development, engaging both contemporary and historical case studies. His most recent book, Authoritarian Contagion; the Global Threat to Democracy, was published by Bristol University Press in 2021.

 As Director of PeaceRep’s Ukraine programme, Dr Cooper manages the work of teams drawn from six global institutions, and a wider network of researchers, both in Ukraine and across the region, comprising a total of 11 cross-cutting interdisciplinary projects. His own research for the Ukraine programme is primarily focused on two tracks and lines of enquiry; the development of evidence-based policy analysis on the immediate needs of the Ukrainian war-economy; and a project combining conceptualisation and data capture which seeks to advance the hypothesis that, rather than the ‘return of geopolitics’, the Russian war against Ukraine is indicative of a ‘new global fragmentation’. According to this thesis approaches that focus only on inter-state geopolitics will occlude the transnational interconnections and combinations which are contributing to Ukraine’s defence of national sovereignty.

 Dr Cooper was previously a Senior Research Fellow with the project, ‘Responsible Deal; where and how to best protect and integrate Syrian refugees’. He also launched the LSE Conflict Zone podcast series, and worked as a researcher on the LSE projects, ‘Visions of Europe’, and ‘The Social Shaping of Governance: Capitalism, Civil society, and War’. Aside from his academic work, he has extensive campaigning and policy advocacy experience. He is the co-founder of Another Europe Is Possible and co-host of the Another Europe podcast. He has developed and led a range of advocacy projects, most recently on monitoring and scrutinising the impacts of Brexit and promoting international solidarity with Ukraine. 

 Dr Cooper was a visiting fellow with the Europe’s Futures Programme at the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna (2018 – 2019), where he researched and later published, Between Dream and Tragedy; Europe’s Story After 1989, a six-part podcast documentary series on the history of European integration. He completed his PhD in International Relations at the University of Sussex, holds an MSc in Comparative Politics from the LSE and a BA in Political Studies from the University of Leeds. He has taught International Relations and Politics at Anglia Ruskin University, Richmond American University London and the University of Sussex.   



Research interests 

  • Nationalism in theory and history
  • Democracy and authoritarianism
  • Uneven and combined development
  • Conflict, crises and system-change



 Selected publications