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Examining possibilities of mitigating and escaping the security dilemma.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A PhD project with Professor Wheeler will address contemporary debates around the concept of security dilemma, focusing on any aspects related to intra/interstate conflicts. It will particularly examine possibilities of mitigating and escaping the security dilemma.

All human societies have to live with uncertainty, the challenge of which is particularly significant in world politics. Governments face dilemmas of interpretation and response about the motives and intentions of others, such that the accumulation of weapons van be understood by one set of decision-makers as a reasonable act of self-protection, but by others as threatening attack or coercion. From this security dilemma flows the pervasiveness of fear, the fragility of cooperation and the elusiveness of trust. The security dilemma is a critically important idea in understanding key challenges to global security in the twenty-first century.

The project builds on work Professor Wheeler has conducted over several years on the security dilemma, cooperation and trust. Professor Wheeler would welcome proposals which explore the ways in which the idea of the security dilemma is relevant for world politics in the twenty-first century.

For information about the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS), please visit:

To find out more about Professor Wheeler’s work in the ICCS, and the experiences of one of the doctoral researchers whose work he supervises, please visit:

Funding Notes

The School of Government and Society and the College of Social Sciences have a limited number of competitive studentships available for PhD study. Details on studentships available at the University of Birmingham can be found at: View Website

For details of the funding available and advice on making your application, please contact:


K. Booth and N. J. Wheeler, The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation, and Trust in World Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Politics and International Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 47.07

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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