Research at CAIS: An overview

CAIS-affiliated scholars publish cutting-edge research on a broad range of issues related to International Relations broadly construed. This work can be categorised in three overlapping themes:

1) Conflict, insecurity, terrorism and political violence

CAIS academics investigate the causes and dynamics of conflict (from international wars to civil conflict and terrorism), with a particular focus on the nexus between conflict, security and development. Developing novel theoretical frameworks, methods and techniques for the study of issues such as peacekeeping/peacemaking, terrorism, intractable conflicts, extremist propaganda, civilizational frictions, or the transformation of urban environments by war, researchers at CAIS lead major research projects and advise governments and international organizations.

2) Foreign policy and grand strategy

At CAIS, the conceptualization and study of foreign policy and grand strategy is a central preoccupation. This includes the historical evolution of US and UK foreign policy, the current durability of US unipolarity (and the strategies that the US can deploy to manage potential relative decline and the rise of peer competitors), and the structural and domestic influences on foreign policy responses in specific regions including but not limited to the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East. An evolving specialism is the UK's National Strategy in the context of changing transatlantic defence priorities; changes in transatlantic grand strategy and the implications this may have in conjunction with BREXIT, for European security and the evolving nature of British cyber security policy and defence as well as counter-insurgency and counterterrorism strategies in response with state and non-state actors.

3) Theory and practice of governance and resistance

Researchers affiliated with the Centre have a keen interest and expertise in what can be characterised as the ‘politics of governance and resistance’. Informed by a range of theoretical perspectives, CAIS members seek to empirically map the workings of contemporary global and national configurations of power (such as those expressed in the context of the European Union, North-South relations, state militarism or the permutations of the global financial market) and the multiple ways in which they are being challenged by a range of local, national and transnational actors (such as social movements, NGOs, ethnic and kinship politics and networks of academic and scientific experts), theorizing the dynamic interplay between these forces of governance and resistance.


Our work across these themes is reinforced by two transversal efforts. First, we strive to advance the lines of IR theory in original and coherent ways, adapting them to the evolution of the international system and opening them to new objects and subjects. Second, we develop a series of in-depth area specialisms, chiefly but not only on Central Asia and the Mediterranean. We work closely with colleagues in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) and other affiliated Centres in Exeter, and engage with a range of academic and non-academic partners in the UK and beyond, such as the Royal United Services Institute, RUSI).

Sample publications
<a href=''>Interrogating Illiberal Peace in Eurasia: Critical Perspectives on Peace and Conflict</a> (2018)<br />Edited by Catherine Owen, Shairbek Juraev, David Lewis, Nick Megoran, and John Heathershaw <a href=''>Dictators Without Borders Power and Money in Central Asia</a>
 (2017)<br /><a href=''>John Heathershaw</a> <a href=''>The new anarchy: globalization and fragmentation in world politics</a>
 (2017)<br /><a href=''>Alex Prichard</a> <a href=''>Paradox of Power: The Logics of State Weakness in Eurasia</a>
 (2017)<br /><a href=''>John Heathershaw</a> <a href=''>Lone-actor Terrorists' Emotions and Cognition: An Evaluation beyond Stereotypes</a>
 (2017)<br /><a href=''>Stephane Baele</a> <a href=''>Numbers in global security governance</a>
 (2017)<br /><a href=''>Stephane Baele</a> Violent Non-State Actors in World Politics
 (2016)<br /><a href=''>Klejda Mulaj</a> <a href=''>A slippery slope: the domestic diffusion of ethnic civil war</a>
 (2016)<br /><a href=''>Nils-Christian Bormann</a> <a href=''>Constructing civilisations: Embedding and reproducing the 'Muslim world' in American foreign policy practices and institutions since 9/11</a>
 (2015)<br /><a href=''>Gregorio Bettiza</a> <a href=''>Global multipolarity, European security and implications for UK grand strategy: back to the future, once again</a>
 (2015)<br /><a href=''>David Blagden</a> A History of the Royal Navy: The Napoleonic Wars
 (2014)<br /><a href=''>Martin Robson</a> <a href=''>How do religious norms diffuse? Institutional translation and intenational change in a post-secular world society</a>
 (2014)<br /><a href=''>Gregorio Bettiza</a> The Struggle for Jerusalem's Holy Places (2013)<br />Wendy Pullan, Maximilian Sternberg, <a href=''>Michael Dumper</a>, Craig Larkin, Lefkos Kyriacou <a href=''>Sea Powers, Continental Powers, and Balancing Theory</a>
 (2011)<br /><a href=''>David Blagden</a>

Full publication list from Centre academics


Owen CAM, Juraev S, Lewis, D, Megoran, N, Heathershaw JD (eds)(2018). Interrogating Illiberal Peace in Eurasia.  Abstract.
Owen CAM, Juraev S, Lewis, D, Megoran, N, Heathershaw JD (eds)(2018). Interrogating Illiberal Peace in Eurasia.  Abstract.
Cooley AA, Heathershaw J (2017). Dictators Without Borders Power and Money in Central Asia., Yale University Press  Abstract.
Ojeda-Garcia R, Fern├índez-Molina I, Veguilla V (2016). Global, regional and local dimensions of Western Sahara’s protracted decolonization: When a conflict gets old.  Abstract. DOI.
Fernandez-Molina I (2016). Moroccan foreign policy under mohammed VI, 1999-2014.  Abstract. DOI.
Stokes D, Raphael S (2010). Global Energy Security and American Hegemony., Johns Hopkins University Press  Abstract.
Gelpi C, Feaver PD, Reifler J (2009). Paying the human costs of war: American public opinion and casualties in military conflicts.  Abstract.

Journal articles

Blagden D (2018). The Flawed Promise of National Security Risk Assessment: Nine Lessons from the British Approach. Intelligence and National Security Full text. DOI.
Stokes D (2018). Trump, American hegemony and the future of the liberal international order. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, 94(1), 133-+. Author URL.  Full text. DOI.
Owen C (2017). A Genealogy of Kontrol’ in Russia: from Leninist to Neoliberal Governance. Slavic Review, 75(02), 331-353. DOI.
Baele SJ, Thomson C (2017). An Experimental Agenda for Securitization Theory. International Studies Review Full text. DOI.
Stokes D, Waterman K (2017). Beyond balancing? Intrastate conflict and US grand strategy. Journal of Strategic Studies, 1-26. Full text. DOI.
Blagden D (2017). Britain and the World after Brexit. International Politics, 54(1), 1-25. Full text. DOI.
Owen C, Bindman E (2017). Civic Participation in a Hybrid Regime: Limited Pluralism in Policymaking and Delivery in Contemporary Russia. Government and Opposition, 1-23. Full text. DOI.
Thomas OD (2017). Good faith and (dis)honest mistakes? Learning from Britain’s Iraq War Inquiry. Politics, 37(4), 371-371.  Abstract.  Full text.
Bormann NC, Cederman L-E, Vogt M (2017). Language, Religion, and Ethnic Civil War. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(4), 744-771.  Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Baele SJ (2017). Lone-Actor Terrorists’ Emotions and Cognition: an Evaluation Beyond Stereotypes. Political Psychology, 38(3), 449-468.  Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Baele SJ, Balzacq T, Bourbeau P (2017). Numbers in Global Security Governance. European Journal of International Security Full text. DOI.
Stokes D, Waterman K (2017). Security leverage, structural power and US strategy in east Asia. International Affairs, 93(5), 1039-1060. Full text. DOI.
Baele SJ, Coan T, Sterck O (2017). Security through Numbers? Experimentally Assessing the Impact of Numerical Arguments in Security Communication. British Journal of Politics and International Relations Full text. DOI.
Baele SJ, Hoeffler A, Lewis D, Sterck O, Slingeneyer T (2017). The Ethics of Security Research. An Ethics Framework for Contemporary Security Studies. International Studies Perspectives Full text. DOI.
Scotto TJ, Reifler J, Hudson D, vanHeerde-Hudson J (2017). We Spend How Much? Misperceptions, Innumeracy, and Support for the Foreign Aid in the United States and Great Britain. Journal of Experimental Political Science Full text. DOI.
Bormann N, Hammond J (2016). A Slippery Slope: the Domestic Diffusion of Ethnic Civil War. International Studies Quarterly, 60(4), 587-598.  Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Reifler J, Scotto TJ (2016). Getting Tough with the Dragon? the Comparative Correlates of Foreign Policy Attitudes towards China in the United States and United Kingdom. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific Full text. DOI.
Blagden D (2016). Induction and Deduction in International Relations: Squaring the Circle Between Theory and Evidence. International Studies Review, 18(2), 195-213. Full text. DOI.
Rathbun B, Kertzer J, Goren P, Reifler J, Scotto T (2016). Taking Foreign Policy Personally: Personal Values and Foreign Policy Beliefs. International Studies Quarterly Full text.
Blagden D (2015). Global Multipolarity, European Security and Implications for UK Grand Strategy: Back to the Future, Once Again. International Affairs, 91(2), 333-350. Author URL.  Full text. DOI.
Vogt M, Bormann N, Ruegger S, Cederman L-E, Hunziker P, Girardin L (2015). Integrating Data on Ethnicity, Geography, and Conflict: the Ethnic Power Relations Dataset Family. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59(7), 1327-1342.  Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Fern├índez-Molina I (2015). Protests under Occupation: the Spring inside Western Sahara. Mediterranean Politics, 20(2), 235-254.  Abstract. DOI.
Cederman L-E, Weidmann N, Bormann NC (2015). Triangulating Horizontal Inequality: Towards Improved Conflict Analysis. Journal of Peace Research, 52(6), 806-821.  Abstract.  Full text.
Stokes D (2014). Achilles’ deal: Dollar decline and US grand strategy after the crisis. Review of International Political Economy, 21(5), 1071-1094.  Abstract. DOI.
Catignani S (2014). Coping with Knowledge: Organizational Learning in the British Army?. Journal of Strategic Studies, 37(1), 30-64.  Abstract.  Author URL. DOI.
Baele SJ, Sterck OC (2014). Diagnosing the Securitisation of Immigration at the EU Level: a New Method for Stronger Empirical Claims. Political Studies, 63, 1120-1139.  Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Gravelle TB, Scotto TJ, Reifler J, Clarke HD (2014). Foreign policy beliefs and support for stephen harper and the conservative party. Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 20(2), 111-130.  Abstract. DOI.
Thomas OD (2014). Foucaultian Dispositifs as Methodology: the Case of Anonymous Exclusions by Unique Identification in India. International Political Sociology, 8(2), 164-181.  Abstract.  Full text.
Reifler J, Clarke HD, Scotto TJ, Sanders D, Stewart MC, Whiteley P (2014). Prudence, principle and minimal heuristics: British public opinion toward the use of military force in Afghanistan and Libya. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 16(1), 28-55.  Abstract. DOI.
Blagden D (2014). Sea Power is Benign Power: the International Case for a Maritime Posture. RUSI Journal, 159(3), 54-61. Full text. DOI.
Baele SJ, Sterck OC, Meur E (2014). Theorizing and Measuring Emotions in Conflict: the Case of the 2011 Palestinian Statehood Bid. Journal of Conflict Resolution  Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Catignani S (2012). 'Getting COIN' at the Tactical Level in Afghanistan: Reassessing Counter-Insurgency Adaptation in the British Army. Journal of Strategic Studies, 35(4), 513-539.  Abstract.  Author URL. DOI.
Reifler J, Scotto TJ, Clarke HD (2011). Foreign Policy Beliefs in Contemporary Britain: Structure and Relevance. International Studies Quarterly, 55(1), 245-266.  Abstract. DOI.
Grieco JM, Gelpi C, Reifler J, Feaver PD (2011). Let's Get a Second Opinion: International Institutions and American Public Support for War. International Studies Quarterly, 55(2), 563-583.  Abstract. DOI.
Blagden DW, Levy JS, Thompson WR (2011). Sea Powers, Continental Powers, and Balancing Theory. International Security, 36(2), 190-202. DOI.
Blagden D (2009). Strategic Thinking for the Age of Austerity. RUSI Journal, 154(6), 60-66. DOI.
Gelpi C, Reifler J, Feaver P (2007). Iraq the vote: Retrospective and prospective foreign policy judgments on candidate choice and casualty tolerance. Political Behavior, 29(2), 151-174.  Abstract. DOI.
Aldrich JH, Gelpi C, Feaver P, Reifler J, Sharp KT (2006). Foreign policy and the electoral connection. Annual Review of Political Science, 9, 477-502.  Abstract. DOI.
Gelpi C, Feaver PD, Reifler J (2005). Success matters - Casualty sensitivity and the war in Iraq. International Security, 30(3), 7-46. DOI.


Fernandez-Molina I (2017). EU and EU Member States’ Responses to the Arab Spring. In Szmolka I (Ed) Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Full text.
Fernandez-Molina I (2017). The ENP and EU-Maghreb Relations. In Schumacher T, Marchetti A (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook on the European Neighbourhood Policy, Abingdon and New York: Routledge Full text.
Vogt M, Bormann N, Cederman L-E (2016). Democracy, Ethnic Exclusion, and Civil Conflict: the Arab Spring Revolutions from a Global Comparative Perspective. In Backer DA, Bhavnani R (Eds.) Peace & Conflict 2016, Routledge
Fernandez-Molina I (2016). The EU, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Western Sahara Conflict: Executive Continuity and Parliamentary Detours. In Bouris D, Schumacher T (Eds.) The Revised European Neighbourhood Policy Continuity and Change in EU Foreign Policy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 219-238.
Thomas OD (2015). The Iraq Inquiries: Publicity, Secrecy and Liberal War. In Cromartie A (Ed) Liberal Wars: Anglo-American Strategy, Ideology and Practice, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 128-149.  Abstract.  Full text.
just updated