Archive of Social Sciences stories

PhD studentships now available for September 2016 start!

8460 800 by 430The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University is pleased to offer a number of full-time PhD Studentships across a range of subject areas for a September 2016 start.

The successful candidate will receive an annual payment of £14,000 as a stipend towards living expenses for a maximum of three years.  Home/EU fees will also be covered by the relevant Department for a maximum of three years.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences spans a diverse range of disciplines that include social sciences, history, philosophy, religion, education, law, English and modern languages, and has a long tradition of producing world-class research. The REF 2014 results confirm our ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research status in a range of subjects, and serve as official recognition of the expertise, dedication and passion of our academic community. We are now accepting applications for the following PhD studentships:


Department of Social Sciences

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘Lemurs as protectors of the forest: Lemur seed dispersal, forest regeneration and local livelihoods in the littoral forest fragments of Madagascar’ The supervisory team will be led by Dr Giuseppe Donati (Primatology/Biological Anthropology), with Professor Kate Hill  (Anthropology). This proposed PhD project will examine the assumed role of lemurs’ forest regeneration and the likely value of this to local human populations.

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in Challenging Security Anew: Probing the Bases and Limits of Critical Security Studies. The supervisory team will be led by Dr Tina Managhan (International Relations) with Dr Doerthe Rosenow (International Relations). This proposed PhD project will explore the ontological and philosophical underpinnings of post-structuralist Critical Security Studies with the aim of furthering its critical ethos and politics.

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in Exploring family, care work and fatherhood in the ‘age of migration’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Tina Miller (Sociology) with Dr Maja Cederberg (Sociology). This proposed PhD project will investigate the role of fathering and examine the emotion work involved in transnational migration, focusing on fathers who are migrants coming to the UK. In particular it will explore how men who are fathers navigate expectations of paternal care and associated emotion work across their home and host country, and how parental obligations and responsibilities are understood, maintained and practiced over time and across borders.


Department of English and Modern Languages

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘Avant-Garde Writing, Technology and the Everyday’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Alex Goody (Twentieth-Century Literature), with Dr Eric White (American Literature).  We are interested in proposals that examine the interactions between the avant-garde writers of modernism and its aftermath and the technological world of the twentieth century. The proposed research should aim to produce a new account of the relationship between the modernist ‘revolution of the word’ and the contingencies and externalities of living in a modern world radically reconfigured through technology (such as transport, inscription, information, communication, surveillance, prosthesis, augmentation and warfare).


Department of History, Philosophy and Religion

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship in ‘The Art of Pre-Raphaelite Criticism’. The supervisory team will be led by Professor Christiana Payne, (History of Art) with Dr Dinah Roe (19th Century Literature). The proposed project will examine the role of contemporary criticism in the development of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, with particular reference to the work of William Michael Rossetti and Frederic George Stephens.


Oxford Brookes named as one of the best young universities in the world


Oxford Brookes University has been named in the Times Higher Education’s 150 Under 50 Rankings for the first time.

The Rankings 2016 is a ranking of the top universities in the world which are under 50 years old. It celebrates those young universities that have made a great impact on the global stage in years rather than centuries and showcases the future rising university stars.

Oxford Brookes is among 25 UK-based universities to be named in the rankings.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Paul Inman said: “We are delighted to see Oxford Brookes recognised for the first time in THE’s 150 Under 50 Rankings. With our excellent reputation for teaching and support and internationally recognised research, this latest ranking is another indicator of our ability to compete with universities across the world. We are confident that we can increase Oxford Brookes’ global standing even further in the coming years.”

Last month, Oxford Brookes’ global reputation was recognised in the QS World Rankings by Subject where 12 subject areas were considered to be among the ‘world’s elite’.

New! Fee-waiver scholarship now available for MA International Relations

Portuguese FPU's, Malaysian FPU's Internatioanl Stabilization Forces, ISF, together with the Rapid Intervention Unit from PNTL conducted a practical joint-exercise at the independance field in tasitolu creating scenario of demonstration that would increase the level of hostility for the police to train their tactics against rock throwing, cocktail molotov, burning tyres and demonstrators. Photo by Martine Perret/UNMIT. 17 March 2009.

An annual MA International Relations (all pathways) Fee Waiver Scholarship is available to an international student with suitable academic credentials. This will cover 100% of the tuition fees(£13,620) and is open to international students intending to start their course in September 2016. Applicants for the scholarship will need to hold an offer before submitting their scholarship form.

Find out more about our MA in International Relations programme here. An application form for the fee-waiver scholarship is available from and must be returned by midnight on Thursday 30th June 2016.

The MA in International Relations offers you the flexibility of choosing either our general programme, or one of three specialist pathways (Global Political Economy, Security and Environment) to suit your specific interests. Our postgraduate students benefit from being taught by a team of research-active scholars who publish in their areas of expertise.
In addition to the taught modules, students on our MA in International Relations also get the opportunity to go on a four-day study tour to Brussels and The Hague. Travel and accommodation are included in your fees, and this includes visits to key institutions of the European Union and a range of international organisations, including the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. This trip enables students to get a first-hand experience of how these important international institutions work.

You can find profiles of some of our former students at
For general sources of financial support at Oxford Brookes University, see:

Funding for Postgraduate students from the UK and EU
Funding for Postgraduate students from outside the EU

Sociology Lecturer receives funding award from the British Academy

DSC_0018 news cropDr Tamsin Barber, senior lecturer in Sociology, has been successful in receiving a grant from the British Academy for her project: Becoming East Asian: Race, Ethnicity and Youth Politics of Belonging in Superdiverse Britain (with Dr. Diana Yeh, City University, London).

Tamsin’s research project examines emerging East Asian youth identities and social spaces in urban Britain to investigate the changing significance of race and ethnicity in superdiverse contexts (a mix of ethnic and migrant minorities).

The concept of superdiversity has become widely adopted to describe and analyse the ordinary multiculture of everyday urban life in the context of new migrations, but it has been criticised for neglecting issues of power, inequality, exclusion and racism . Her project addresses these absences by examining the significance of race and racism for invisible minorities.

Due to migration, East Asians in Britain are now one of the fastest growing ‘ethnic’ groupings, with the highest percentage of international students; yet they remain invisible in both academic and policy debates on citizenship, integration and multiculturalism. This project investigates how and why young people in London and Birmingham are engaging in racial and pan-ethnic ‘Oriental’ group-making when recent social surveys suggest that race is losing its significance as a dominant identity.

The research will be divided between London and Birmingham, two cities with significant East Asian populations, to allow for a comparative analysis. The research team will conduct in-depth interviews with young Japanese, Thai, Filipino, Korean and Malaysian men and women who use East Asian social spaces, such as events aimed specifically at East Asian youth as well as research on social networking sites.It will provide rich multifaceted data to show how and why young people are ‘becoming East Asian’, as they negotiate the politics of belonging in superdiverse Britain.

Her work will contribute to debates on how political mobilization and belonging are changing under superdiversity, and lead to a research agenda on emerging East Asian youth politics in Britain whilst contributing significant new knowledge on the hitherto ‘uncharted territories’ of invisible youth, who until the 2011 Census were classified as a subcategory of ‘Chinese’, as ‘Chinese: Other’. 


If you’d like to find out more about studying Sociology at Oxford Brookes University, take a look at the subject page.

Oxford Brookes to host workshop on ‘Vulnerability and the Politics of Care’

On 21-22 January 2016 Oxford Brookes University will host a workshop on the topic ‘Vulnerability and the Politics of Care’.
The two-day intensive workshop will explore vulnerability and its ethnographic, historical, aesthetic, and political manifestations. Ten invited presenters and five respondents will initiate discussions and link across disciplinary boundaries, challenging prevailing notions of power, gender, corporeality, infrastructure and security.

Confirmed speakers from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes include Tina Managhan (International Relations), Beverly Clack (Philosophy), Emily Cousens (Politics) and Jason Danely (Anthropology). In addition, there will be six other speakers from the UK and Italy.

There are a limited number of additional places available for other participants so if you are interested in attending please contact Doerthe Rosenow on the email address supplied below by 31 December 2015,  specifying whether you would like to attend the whole workshop or select parts of it.

For more information or to register please contact Doerthe Rosenow directly at or see the event listing


Applications for the Sasakawa postgraduate studentship in Japanese studies are now open!


The Department of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University is pleased to invite applications for the Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship in Japanese studies, made possible through the generosity of The Nippon Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

The department can nominate candidates for the MPhil/PhD or Masters by Research for a studentship of £10,000. This studentship is initially for one year only, but may be renewable subject to satisfactory progress in subsequent years, up to a maximum of three years, beginning in September of the 2016/17 academic year. Please note that you will be required to reapply for the studentship each year, and that the GBSF will consider these applications on their merits. The GBSF cannot make a recurrent three year commitment to any one PhD candidate from year one.

For the successful MPhil/PhD candidates, Oxford Brookes is able to offer a further studentship of £7000, in addition to the Sasakawa studentship. This is also initially for one year, renewable subject to satisfactory progress, up to a maximum of three years. Please note that this does not apply to Masters by Research students.

 Please note that although you may use your studentship to help towards the cost of your fees, you will be responsible for paying your fees each year. International applicants should be aware that they will need to fund their fees at the international rate.

Candidate Criteria:

  • The research proposal must focus on Japan.
  • It is important that you and your referees comment on your skill in Japanese in the areas of reading, composition and speaking.
  • Interviews may partly be conducted in conversational Japanese.
  • Candidates must have submitted an application for admission by the Studentship application deadline.

MPhil/PhD candidates must have:

  • a good first degree (a good 2:1 or above) or are predicted to obtain one.
  • completed a degree with a substantive anthropology content or in Japanese studies and have a sufficient level of Japanese language ability to engage in fieldwork in Japan (normally this should be equivalent to JLPT level 2 or above).

A Masters is desirable, but we will consider candidates without a Masters who can demonstrate the ability to engage in substantial independent research.

Part-time programmes are not eligible.

Masters by Research candidates must have a good first degree (a good 2:1 or above) or are predicted to obtain one.

Applicants may be of any nationality, but Masters degree applicants must be either UK citizens (regardless of their current residency) or settled in the UK or have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of their MA course.

How to apply:

You will need to follow the standard university application procedure. Please contact the Research Administrator Terri Morris: for further details.

Deadline: The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Monday 29th February 2016

Elites, Legality and Inequalities of Power: State Capture in Comparative Perspective

Francisco Durand's paper on state capture in Peru

Francisco Durand’s paper on state capture in Peru

On 7 October the Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society at Brookes staged a one-day comparative workshop on state capture across the developing world, with papers on Latin America (Bolivia and Peru), the Balkans (Montenegro), the Central Asian Republics, India and South Africa. The conference sought to provide a definition for what is meant by ‘state capture’ and to provide links between a range of different sorts of regimes which, in one way or another, have been characterised in this way.

Those giving papers included researchers at Oxford Brookes as well as other invited participants. The keynote address was given by Professor Neil Robinson from the University of Limerick, and the concluding remarks were provided by Laurence Whitehead, Official Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

Robinson sought to go beyond the definition of state capture provided in 1998 by Joel Hellman from the World Bank with relation to elite corruption in the countries of the former Soviet Union which he considered limited in its use. Indeed, he sought to go beyond simple institutional explanations (such as presidentialism as opposed to parliamentarism) in fostering state capture. Institutions, on their own, he maintained, failed to promote the liberal virtuous circle so desired by proponents of the Washington Consensus. Taking Russia as an example, he argued that state capture is not a permanent feature of a political system, since under President Putin it was more a case of the state recapturing business after the oligarchic capture witnessed under President Yeltsin.

Robinson saw the need therefore to distinguish different types of state capture and different stages of market reform, and for these to be placed in their historical context. He also pointed to the need to highlight degrees of state autonomy and the extent to which elites can appropriate rents through their influence over state decisions. In Eastern Europe, liberalisation had been essentially technocratic, focusing on how to get the state out of the way, though this was less evident in some countries than others. A paper by Alex Finnen (Ministry of Defence/Oxford Brookes) on Montenegro highlighted a society in which clans and smuggling mafias (often foreign) had effectively seized power.

Two papers – one by Chris Hesketh (Oxford Brookes) and one by Jeffrey Webber (Queen Mary University) stressed class domination of contemporary states and the limited autonomy of state action. Both highlighted the contribution of Gramscian thought to understanding the processes of state capture. Looking at the case of Peru, Francisco Durand (Catholic University, Lima) concentrated more on mechanisms of state capture, both at national as well as local levels, and going beyond analysis of the executive to reflect on other nuclei of power. Both Alex Beresford (Leeds) and Rico Isaacs (Oxford Brookes) stressed neopatrimonialism as their preferred analytical framework for looking at elite control in South Africa and the Central Asian Republics respectively. Prittam Singh (Oxford Brookes) looked at India since Independence, stressing the role of nationalism in limiting the remit of business elites, at least until recent times.

Summing up the proceedings, Laurence Whitehead came back to the need to historicise experiences of state capture, recognise limitations and to focus attention on those parts of the state most readily captured by modern business elites. In reviewing the Bolivian experience, he showed that state capture is an unstable and unpredictable process. Successful state capture tends to happen when an economic model combines with a connected political project and an effective discourse combining the two. However, similarities between case studies make it possible to make meaningful comparison across geographies and over time. Depending on levels of abstraction, what we need to focus on is (i) what parts of the state? (ii) capture by whom? (iii) for what purpose? and (iv) to what degree?

Panelists for the morning session

Panelists for the morning session

Anthropology lecturer to present research at 2015 Caring Matters Conference

Anthropology lecturer to present research at 2016 Caring Matters Conference

Senior lecturer in anthropology, Jason Danely, will be running a workshop about his research on family-provisioned care in Japan at the Caring Matters Conference.

There are an estimated 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, and Jason’s research is part of a larger project comparing care in the UK and Japan. In particular, his work highlights the influence of culture on the kinds of stress and resilience experienced by family caring for older adults.

The conference will be held on Friday 20 November, to coincide with National Carer’s Rights Day, at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and is organized by Carers Oxfordshire.

Other guest speakers include; Jen Kenward, Head of Patient Experience – Community, Primary and Integrated Care Nursing Directorate (NHS England), Professor Graham Stokes (Global Director of Dementia Care at BUPA), Paul Mayhew-Archer (British Writer, producer and Script Editor for the BBC), Ruth Patil (Carers Worldwide), Andrew Smith MP and Paul Cann, Chief Executive of Age UK Oxfordshire and Action for Carers Oxfordshire.

The event is free for carers. Anyone interested in attending should contact Carers Oxfordshire on

Oxford Brookes lecturer acts as guest editor for sociology journal


Oxford Brookes sociology lecturer Professor Tina Miller has guest edited a special issue of the journal ‘Families, Relationships and Societies’ alongside Professor Esther Dermott (Bristol University), which is now available online. This special issue focuses on contemporary fatherhood in Europe, with contributions from Denmark, Italy, Sweden, France and the UK.

Tina Miller set up the Oxford Network of European Fatherhood Researchers (ONEFaR)  following a British Academy Grant award in 2011. Since its inception the Network has organised research events in the UK, Italy and Sweden and presented in panel discussions at several European conferences. The Network is currently working on a book proposal with Policy Press on researching fatherhood and family lives, and will next present their work at the University of Roskilde, Denmark in November 2015.


PhD studentships of up to £14,000 a year available now for January 2016 start


To mark its 150th Anniversary, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, is pleased to offer a number of full-time PhD Studentships across a range of subject areas in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, starting in January 2016.

Each Studentship award will include an annual maintenance payment of £14,000 (with no inflation increase) for a maximum of three years, subject to the candidate making satisfactory progress. Students will be required to pay the annual fees at the Home/EU rate, currently £4,152 for 2015/2016 academic year.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences spans a diverse range of disciplines that include social sciences, history, philosophy, religion, education, law, English and modern languages.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has a long tradition of producing world-class research. The REF 2014 results confirm our ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research status in a range of subjects, and serve as official recognition of the expertise, dedication and passion of our academic community.

We welcome applications with proposals for PhD research projects in distinct and multidisciplinary areas related to the Faculty’s wider research themes.

Some examples of our research strengths are, but not limited to:

  • Leadership and management within education, special educational needs (SEN), pedagogic practice, and school subjects and curricula
  • Early modern drama, nineteenth-century poetry, modernism and post-colonial literature
  • History of medicine, social and public health, eugenics and biopolitics, as well as the history of welfare and governance
  • Human rights, equality, international security, migration, law and religion
  • European politics and social change, gender, and critical international studies.
  • Cultural anthropology, Human origins and palaeo-environments, primates and wildlife conservation