Go to the Subjects section
Go to the Research section
Go to the Staff and students section
Go to the About section
Go to the Virtual tour section
Department of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483924
GIP Gibbs 4.32
Michael is Reader in Politics. He joined the Department in November 2007, having previously been Lecturer in Politics at the University of Surrey and an ESRC/Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, where he also gained his PhD. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Michael is currently supervising two research students within the department and is keen to supervise promising candidates. He would particularly welcome proposals on any aspect of citizenship, political participation, community cohesion and the politics of anti-terrorism policies.
Michael's research coalesces around a concern with the ways that the state influences citizens' behaviour. This happens directly, (coercively even), but also indirectly. State actions support and propose norms of behaviour which influence how individuals behave as the norms that policies and actions propagate and support have effects beyond those intended by the original action or initiative. These interests take in areas such as Citizenship, Political Participation, Comparative Welfare State analysis, (New) Institutionalism and State theory. He has worked on an ESRC funded project entitled 'Anti-Terrorism, Citizenship and Security in the UK', with Dr Lee Jarvis (University of East Anglia), which aims to examine to what extent citizens of the United Kingdom feel that their security has been enhanced (or even diminished) by contemporary anti-terrorism measures.
He is currently working on a project which examines the influence of public opinion on UK counter terrorism policy.
This paper seeks to explore the politics of counter terrorism in the UK. It argues that for a number of reasons, counter terrorism policy has been separated off from other policy areas and seen as securitised, exceptional or just different. The paper argues that such a separation from “normal” politics is problematic, both conceptually and empirically. It argues that much can be gained by considering counter terrorism policy through the lenses, concepts and debates which feature in other areas of British politics. The paper then examines two such lenses/debates – depoliticisation and neoliberalism. An argument is developed that counter terrorism policy is not, in the main, depoliticised, but rather overt, politicised and visible. This prominence, it is argued, is due to the ways in which neoliberalism has reduced many of the traditional roles of the state. Drawing on the work of Wacquant and Hall, the paper argues that in the absence of such traditional roles, counter terrorism offers the state an opportunity to perform its own “stateness”, to visibly display its sovereign power in a context of ever more (self-imposed) diminished powers.
This article explores the value of scholarship on state terrorism for the critical study of terrorist violences. The article begins by identifying four primary contributions of this scholarship: first, a rethinking of the status and significance of terrorism; second, an unsettling of broader assumptions within International Relations (IR) and terrorism research; third, an ability to locate state violences within pertinent, but potentially camouflaged, contexts; and, fourth, a prioritisation of critique as a responsibility of scholarship. The article’s second section then argues that the purchase of this work could be further extended by greater conceptual engagement with the state itself. In particular, we point to the value of contemporary approaches to the state as a terrain and outcome of social and political struggle, rather than as a singular actor of unitary purpose. Rethinking the state in this way has value, we argue, first, for moving research beyond the identification and typologising of state terrorisms; and, second, for circumventing the perennial problem of identifying intentionality in efforts to designate violences as (state) terrorism.
This article draws on primary focus group research to explore the differing ways in which UK publics conceptualise and discuss security. The article begins by situating our research within two relevant contemporary scholarly literatures: The first concerns efforts to centre the ‘ordinary’ human as security’s referent; the second, constructivist explorations of security’s discursive (re)production. A second section then introduces six distinct understandings of security that emerged in our empirical research. These organised the term around notions of survival, belonging, hospitality, equality, freedom and insecurity. The article concludes by exploring this heterogeneity and its significance for the study of security more broadly, outlining a number of potential future research avenues in this area.
The corroding impacts of anti-terrorism measures on citizenship have been much discussed in recent years. Drawing on qualitative research from the UK, this article argues that citizens do indeed frequently feel that aspects of citizenship – such as rights, duties, identity claims and the ability to participate in the public sphere – have been significantly dampened by developments in this policy area. At the same time, however, participants in our research also articulated a number of strategies through which they or others have sought to resist the logics, exercise and impacts of anti-terrorism powers. These included voicing explicit opposition to particular measures, resisting ‘outsider’ or ‘victim’ subject positions, and a refusal to withdraw from established forms of political engagement. Whilst such resistance should not be overstated, we argue that these strategies emphasise the co-constitutive rather than linear relationship between public policy and citizenship. Anti-terrorism powers do indeed impact upon citizenship claims, for instance in the curtailment of formal rights. Equally, the everyday, lived, experiences and practices of citizenship contribute to, and help shape, the perceptions and understandings of anti-terrorism policy from within the citizenry
This article draws on primary focus group data from the UK to offer three contributions to recent debate on the impact of anti-terrorism measures on citizenship. First, it presents a qualitatively rich account of citizens' own perspectives on this relationship. Second, it explores the significance of ethnic identity in relation to public attitudes. Finally, it traces the implications of anti-terrorism initiatives upon multiple dimensions of citizenship including participation, identity and duties as much as rights. The article argues that citizens from a range of ethnic minority backgrounds, and thus not only Muslims, believe that anti-terrorism measures have directly curtailed and diminished their citizenship. This is in contrast to white participants who, while not untroubled about the impact of these measures, generally viewed this as a concern distanced from their everyday lives. This difference suggests that anti-terrorism measures may be contributing to a condition of disconnected citizenship in the UK.
This article seeks to examine the differing responses of Spain and the United Kingdom to recent terrorist violence. While both experienced an al-Qaeda inspired attack on their soil, the legislative response has been very different, with Spain enacting virtually no legislative changes, whereas the United Kingdom has passed four pieces of new anti-terrorism legislation since 2001. The article argues that to account for this variance, the historical roots and evolution of anti-terrorism legislation in both countries should be considered alongside more narrow institutional factors. In Spain very stringent permanent law was introduced under Franco, and has since been reformed and rolled back to accommodate the democratic era. This sees terrorism dealt with within the existing legal framework and combined with a lingering scepticism of security services and the legal system suggests that increasing anti-terrorism powers are less politically viable (or legally necessary). In contrast, the United Kingdom, owing to its penchant for temporary law to deal with terrorism, has produced a situation where Parliament has become habituated to legislating on terrorism matters. These policy paradigms, along with differing attachments to civil liberties, help to understand the different responses by these countries to a seemingly common pressure.
This article explores the ways in which Western states have adapted their counter-terrorism strategies to meet the demands of a post-9/11 era. Focusing on the USA and UK as illustrative case studies, this article charts the emergence of a new, complex topography of security measures aimed at confronting the threat of unconventional violence from above and below. Of particular interest is the construction of a raft of initiatives heavily reliant on the continued participation of citizens for their functioning; a reliance persistently justified by claims to uncertainty, even ignorance, among political elites. To better understand these initiatives and their implications, this article introduces the concept of stakeholder security to refer to the conscription of ordinary individuals into the state's security apparatuses; a conscription that positions citizens precariously as simultaneously technologies, subjects and objects of security. The article concludes with a first attempt to trace some of the political and normative issues raised by this new policy framework.