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Populist Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis


   School of Social Sciences

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  Dr Eszter Simon , Assoc Prof Vasileios Adamidis, Dr Jonathan Gorry  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In recent years, populist governments have multiplied in number across the globe, allowing populist parties and leaders to shape their countries’ politics from a position of power. These governments have taken a novel approach to foreign policy in their criticism of the existing liberal international order and in a desire to restructure the foreign policy of their countries. Existing scholarship claims that actual changes have rarely, if ever, gone beyond the rhetorical. However, recent global and regional crises, including COVID-19, the global energy crisis, and the war in Ukraine, have created both novel security risks and exceptional global windows of opportunities for populist governments to affect real changes in their foreign policies.  

Research aims 

Thus, it is imperative to re-examine the foreign policy of populist regimes and investigate the impact of external shocks on the foreign policy of populist states. We invite candidates to develop a research proposal that reflects their own interest in populist foreign policy in times of crises. Applications are welcome with an interest in the foreign policy of a populist government of an applicant’s own choice, in a comparative study of various populist governments, or in the foreign policy network of populist states.  

Research Design and planning 

It is expected that the successful candidate will  

  1. Develop the specific research question they wish to engage with within the broader area of populist foreign policy in times of crises. The project is open in terms of country orientation, but the candidate should explain what country/countries they wish to study and why. They should also describe how they are equipped to study their country/countries of choice.  
  2. Engage with the literature on the foreign policy of populist regimes at the minimum and clearly define populism in their proposals. Engagement with scholarship on foreign policy change is encouraged.  
  3. Specify what aspect of foreign policy the applicant wishes to focus on. Options are many (alliance patterns, engagement with non-populist states or other populist states, aid policy, policy towards a particular country or region, etc.). 
  4. Prepare a fully justified research design as part of their applications. The nature of the topic allows for qualitative, quantitative (small-N) research, or mixed-methods research. The candidate should clearly explain what research design they wish to use, the way they propose to collect and analyse their data, and what crisis/crises they wish to focus on. 
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