Peter Lawler

Peter Lawler


Personal profile



Until 2016/17 convened and co-teach the first year course POLI10601 Introduction to International Politics (enrolment c.600), and two MA modules: POLI70401 Advanced Seminar in International Politics and POLI70832 Contemporary US Foreign Policy. I also contribute lectures to POLI20332 The Politics of (In)Security.

University College for Interdsicplinary Learning

I was the founding academic director of the University College for Interdsciplinary Learning (UCIL) at the University of Manchester, 2011-17. UCIL provides all undergraduate students at Manchester with the opportunity to undertake credit-bearing course units outside of their disciplinary pathways. UCIL offers a unique suite of c40 course units, including units with disciplinary content (for non-specialists), as well as multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary course units.

NB I'm on sabbatical during the whole of the 2017/18 academic year

Further information

I am currently preparing a textbook under contract to Oxford University Press, provisionally entitled Theories of International Relations: An Introduction, with a view to publication in 2019. The textbook is primarily intended for undergraduate students new to the discipline or for graduate students seeking a quick refresher text. It aims to be highly accessible and emphasises new critical approaches as well as the connections between history and the emergence of theories.

In 2014 I established the Interdisciplinary Curriculum Group and was its chair until 2017. The group currently comprises more than 20 representatives of UK and European universities working on developing interdisciplinary curriculum initiatives.

I have considerable experience in providing commentaries on contemporary world politics to the print and broadcast media in the UK Australia, and Canada.

Research interests

Western internationalism; foreign policies of the UK, Canada, Australia and the Scandinavian states; war, normative theory of international relations; national stories and narratives.

Current Research Projects:

From 1982 to 1995, my research focused on the theoretical dimensions of peace research with particular reference to the work of Johan Galtung. The core theme was the paucity of robust normative theorising in a field where one might reasonably expect to find it. This research culminated in the publication of a monograph A Question of Values: Johan Galtung's Peace Research, Lynne Rienner, 1995 as well as various journal articles and chapters in edited collections.

My subsequent research has revolved around the discourses and practices of Western internationalism. Under this rubric I am drawing upon the English School, critical theory, international ethical theory, and the concepts of narrative and national stories to examine the sociology of normative foreign policy discourse, with a particular focus on the internationalist dimensions of national narratives of identity, and the normative defence of the semi-sovereign or post-sovereign internationalist state. The empirical dimensions of my research centre on the foreign policies of the Scandinavian states, Canada, Australia, the UK and the EU.

PhD Supervision

Since 1994, I have supervised 23 PhD and 2 M.Phil students to successful completion. As I plan to retire in 2019, I will no longer be supervising PhD research.

Recent PhD completions:

23. 2017 Luke Bhatia  New Social Movements in Authoritarian Regimes: The Evolution of the Human Rights Movement in Bahrain (Co-supervised with Dr Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet)

22. 2015 Emmy Eklundh Emotion and Indignant Political Protest (Main supervisor, with Dr Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet) (Externally funded)

21. 2015 Benjamin Tallis Borders, Security and Subjectivity in the Enlarged EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood (Main supervisor, with Dr Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, ESRC Funded).

20.  2015 Turki Alawi, Subaltern Realism, Saudi Foreign Policy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, (Main supervisor with Dr Cristina Masters, Externally Funded)

19. 2014 Precious Chatterje-Doody Identity and Security in Russian Foreign Policy (second supervisor with Prof. Yoram Gorlizkhi)

18. 2014 Susannah O’Sullivan, Libya and the production of violence: space, time and subjectivity in contemporary humanitarian intervention (Main supervisor, with Dr. Cristina Masters, ESRC Funded)

17. 2014 Jamie Johnson, The Politics of Violence in Afghanistan, Subjectivity, Temporality and Ethics, 2014 (second supervisor with Prof. Maja Zehfuss)

16. 2013 Ronan O’Callaghan, Ethics as Response: A Critical Analysis of Michael Walzer’s Just War Theory in the Context of Iraq (second supervisor with Prof. Maja Zehfuss)

15. 2013 Rebecca Ehata, Migrant Belonging in International Relations: Tracing the Reflection of International Relations’ Autochthony Through British Housing Discourse (second supervisor with Dr Veronique Pin-Fat)

14. 2009 Ilan Danjoux, No Laughing Matter:  A Cartoon Analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (sole supervisor)

13. 2008 Jonathan Gilmore, New Wars and the Concept of the Cosmopolitan Military, 2008 (sole supervisor)

12. 2008 Stephen Mak, Future Wars: The Revolution in Military Affairs and Unconventional Warfare, (sole supervisor, ESRC funded)

11. 2007 Zerrin Ayse Bakan A Quest for Security and Identity: Turkey and the Enlargements of NATO and the EU (sole supervisor, Externally funded)

10. 2007 Helen Dexter Warfighting and Lifesaving: New Wars, Cosmopolitan Enforcement and the War on Terror (sole supervisor, ESRC funded)

9. 2007 Simona Rentea The Limits of the Weberian State in International Relations Theory (Main supervisor, with Dr Veronique Pin-Fat)

8. 2005 Elena Barabantseva, Ethnonationalism and Globalisation: China's Policy towards Overseas Chinese (Main supervisor, with Dr Susanne Brandtstadter)

7. 2005 Ekaterina Balabanova, Mass Media and Complex Security Conflicts (sole supervisor)

6. 2004 Hakan Samur, Identity Formation in the EU and Eastern Europe: the Case of Poland (Joint supervisor, with Prof. Simon Bulmer)

5. 2003 Felix Ciuta, Alliance Theory and Contemporary Security (sole Supervisor, nominated for PSA Lord Bryce Prize)

4. 2002 Christine Agius, Neutrality and Identity: the Social Origins of Swedish Neutrality (sole supervisor)

3. 2002 Denis Krivosheev, Visions of Security: Britain's Post-cold War Security Relations with Poland and the Czech Republic (sole supervisor)

2. 1997 Deniol Jones, Strategies for Communication: the Role of the Mediator in International Conflict  (sole supervisor, ESRC funded, winner of PSA Lord Bryce Prize)

1. 1996 Alexander Vossekrenski, Sino-Soviet Relations in the Cold War Era  (joint supervisor with Dr. Yoram Gorlizki)

Series Editor

Since 1998 I have been the founding editor of a book series entitled New Approaches to Conflict Analysis for Manchester University Press. The series now includes more than 20 monographs and edited collections. For information on this series and other MUP politics and international relations titles see the Manchester University Press website.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, La Trobe University


Master of Science, International Relations, London School of Economics & Political Science (University of London)


Bachelor of Arts, International Relations, Lanchester Polytechnic


External positions

External Examiner, Horizons Programme, Imperial College London

2015 → …

External Examiner, The University of Warwick

2015 → …

External Expert, Peace Studies & International Development, University of Bradford

2014 → …

External Examiner, London School of Economics & Political Science (University of London)


External Examiner - Graduate, Queen's University Belfast


External Examiner -Graduate, Department of International Politics, University of Wales


External Examiner, University of Keele


External Examiner- Graduate, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College, Dublin


Visiting Faculty, Jaume I University


Areas of expertise

  • JZ International relations


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