Photo of Dr Lise Storm

Dr Lise Storm

BA, MA (Copenhagen), PHD (Exeter)

Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics, Director of Education


01392 725255

Democracy and democratization. Parties, party systems, and party system institutionalization. These are the topics at the core of my research agenda. While I occasionally work on cases outside of the Arab World, this is where my heart lies. In fact, it belongs to North Africa, and the Maghreb in particular. Over the past few years, I have published, lectured and debated widely on issues relating to the state of democracy and the likelihood of democratic, political change in North Africa. Most notably, I have recently published Party Politics and the Prospects for Democracy in North Africa (Lynne Rienner, 2013) and ‘The Fragile Tunisian Democracy’ in Gana (ed.) The Making of the Tunisian Revolution (Edinburgh University Press, 2013).  

With the eruption of the Arab Spring, there has been an immense surge in demand for research and publications on the state of the democratization process in the Middle East and North Africa. In short, does the Middle East and North Africa appear to be changing politically? And in which direction(s)? Given my field of interest, and the reality that I have explored issues relating to parties and party systems in North Africa in greater detail since the beginning of my career, my research agenda over the coming years will take a slight change of course with a view to generate new knowledge and bring in a breath of fresh air. While I will maintain my emphasis on political parties and the role played by these in the democratization process, the perspective will be Western in the coming years. What I am particularly interested in exploring is how the Arab Spring has impacted upon party aid given by the various European and US party foundations to political parties across the Arab World. Has the Arab Spring led to a change in objectives, in how recipients are selected, and in the budgets committed to this type of democracy assistance? These are some of the topics that I will be exploring in the years to come.

My research agenda has always, as already mentioned, centred on the subject of democracy. Although the focus has often been on North African politics (see, for example,Democratization in Morocco), this has not always been the case. I have also published on party assistance (‘Problems of Party Assistance in Hybrid Regimes’ with Nicole Bolleyer), on radicalization (‘The Persistence of Authoritarianism as a Source of Radicalization in North Africa’ and ‘The Dilemma of the Islamists’), and definitions of democracy (‘An Elemental Definition of Democracy and its Advantages for Comparing Political Regime Types’). I am not, in other words, a clear-cut area studies person. All my research is highly theory-driven, and my main interest is democratization theory. However, there is no denying that my passion for the politics of the Middle East and North Africa is almost equal.

For office hours and research leave go here.


Research interests

My research is located in the Middle East Social Sciences cluster within the IAIS, and I am a member of the cross-departmental CEMAP, which focuses on electoral and party politics. 

My main research interests are:

  • Party politics
  • Islamist parties
  • Ethnic parties and movements
  • Elections
  • Democratization processes
  • Democracy promotion/assistance
  • Party aid
  • Authoritarianism and mechanisms of regime survival
  • Politics in 'hybrid' regimes
  • Party system institutionalization
  • Mechanisms of regime survival in non-democratic states

I work on all of the above themes, mainly within the context of the Middle East. However, I also focus extensively on Latin America.

Research supervision

I am happy to supervise students working on democracy, democratization, authoritarianism, political parties, and party system institutionalization. The cases studied do not necessarily have to be Middle Eastern – as an associate of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies (EXCEPS) and the Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS), I also welcome students working on Latin American and African politics.

I expect my students to reside in the UK and/or to travel to Exeter on a regular basis (at least once every two months).

Students supervised by me must have a firm grounding in political science.

Research students

I have seen quite a number of students through to completion, most recently Dr Anaïd Flesken (co-supervised with Prof. Stansfield), who worked on the relationship between electoral systems and ethnic conflict in Latin America.

At present I supervise:

Ms Mona Farag (who works on women in Islamist parties)

Mr Abdelouahed Motaouakal (on al-Adl wal-Ihsan)

Ms Billie Jeanne Brownlee (Syrian media and resistance)

Ms Emman el-Badawy (education and democracy in Egypt)

Ms Katherine Berrisford (FGM and political theory)

Mr Nathaniel Handy (Turkish politics)

Mr Hussein Marei (Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt)


Other information

In addition to teaching and research, I am heavily engaged in administrative roles. I current hold the following posts:

  • Director of Research (IAIS)
  • Chair of the Ethics Committee (College of Social Sciences and International Studies)
  • Member of the Ethical Review Group (University of Exeter)
  • Academic Lead (IAIS)
  • Member of CEMAP (University of Exeter)

Outside of the University, but related to my field of study, I am involved in setting up an Association for Maghreb Studies (AMS), which will bring together academics and practitioners working on Maghrebi issues, regardless of their geographic location. The first meeting of AMS took place in Exeter on 28 June 2011. For more information, please email me at

I also...

  • serve on the editorial board of the journal Mediterranean Politics
  • am a Fellow of the HEA
  • contribute regularly (on the MENA) to a blog on presidents and presidential politics around the world:
  • post (almost) daily to the presidential powers page on Facebook: 



2010- present: Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. 

2010-2011: Conference convenor responsible for convening the annual conference of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES). The event took place in June 2011, and brought together some 200 participants from across the globe.

2010-2013: Reviews editor for the academic journal Mediterranean Politics, which is published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. The post is initially for three years.

2010: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

2009-2010: Lecturer in Middle East Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

2007-2009: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Comparative Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Department of Politics.

2006-2007: Lecturer in Middle East Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Department of Politics. 



2012: Visiting Fellow, Sorbonne/Université Paris 1 (F), Centre d'études des mondes africains.

2012: Visiting Fellow, Sciences Po (F), Centre d'études et de recherches internationales.

2009: Visiting Fellow, European University Institute (IT), Department of Political and Social Sciences.

2009: Visiting Fellow, Institut Français des Relations Internationales (F). The post was never taken up due to the birth of my daughter in May 2009.



2002-2006: PhD, Political Science. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Thesis: The Limits and Opportunities of Democratization from Above: Moroccan Political ‘Games’, 1956-2005.

Supervisor: Prof. Tim Niblock; external examiner: Dr Michael Willis (Oxford).


2000-2002: MA, Political Science. University of Copenhagen (DK), Institute of Political Science.

The first year of the degree was spent at Leiden University (NL), Department of Public Administration.

Dissertation: Theories of Conflict Resolution and Turkey’s Kurdish Question.

Supervisor: Prof. Dietrich Jung.


1997-2000: BA, Political Science. University of Copenhagen (DK), Institute of Political Science.


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