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.
From September 2009, he has been working 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 an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, Knowledge Exchange Dialogue project "Countering Extremism: Issues for Police and Civil Society" which aims to bring together academics, legal experts, members of the police and civil society to discuss the challenges and issues that arise out of the Counter Extremism strategy.