Birkbeck politics

To celebrate Birkbeck Politics great REF result, we are highlighting some of the department’s interesting research from the past few years

Professor Diana Coole on the politics of ageing

See Diana’s Prize winning article in Contemporary Political Theory here

‘This article examines recent ageing policies and the way they are framed…It speculates that the generation of post-war baby boomers now approaching retirement just might rediscover resources in its counter-cultural memory to imagine a more emancipatory elder life congruent with a more sustainable environment’.

Dr Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos on the UK as the EU’s ‘Awkward Partner’

Two guest lectures on Britain and the EU published here:

‘Britain has been described as an ‘awkward partner’ (George, 1994) within the EU but the chequered history of her membership is even more complex. Although it is true that until 1997 there were only two major episodes of positive engagement (the establishment of the single European market in the second half of the 1980s and John Major’s short-lived attempt, upon his arrival at 10 Downing Street, to place the UK ‘at the heart of Europe’) a more thorough understanding of Britain’s 40-year history as a member of the EC/EU ought to be couched not only in contemporary debates on the future of European integration but also Britain’s own past, present and future.

Dr Rosie Campbell with Dr Jennifer van Heerde-Hudson on MPs and political candidates
Leading cross-university research on Parliamentary Candidates for the General Election 2015

‘Many in the British public believe the political class to be increasingly out of touch, insular and unable to understand the lives and concerns of ordinary citizens. And recent evidence suggests that politicians are increasingly drawn from a narrowing middle class—a privileged class—despite significant efforts at increasing the descriptive representation of elected representatives. We want to know, is it true? How has the political class changed over time, if at all? To answer these and other questions, we are building a single, comprehensive, publicly available database on the socio-demographic, electoral and institutional profile of candidates and MPs’ from 1945.


I have spent a good deal of time recently writing the third edition of my textbook Contemporary Russia. The temptation with a second, third, (presumably fourth or even – heaven forfend – fifth) edition is to simply update rather than re-write. Succumbing to that temptation would not only short-change the reader a little, but it wouldn’t do justice to the subject. Continue reading

Jonathan Portes, a former chief economist in the Cabinet Office under Tony Blair and leading immigration advocate, recently penned a critical review of David Goodhart’s The British Dream – a book which takes aim at Blair’s generous immigration intake. Knowing both men personally, as well as their views, I cannot but come away with an impression that the two have very different notions of national identity. Both have American-Jewish family background, but Portes’ Englishness tends toward the multicultural whereas Goodhart’s is anchored in a political nationalism rooted in historic traditions. The divide seems incommensurable, but maybe it’s not: rather than a one-size-fits-all national identity imposed from above, what if British national identity could emerge from below? Continue reading