School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Phone number: 01865 483564
Location: GIP, Gibbs G4.17a
I joined the Department in September 2018. I have worked at a number of institutions throughout the UK, having received my PhD from the University of Warwick. My research is interdisciplinary, situated in both radical political economy and British history. My main research interest is in understanding the role of imperialism in British policy-making.
The Political Economy of Imperial Relations offers a much needed historical and theoretical intervention into the relationship between Britain and Malaya after the Second World War. It challenges existing accounts and details a strong continuity in this relationship from 1945 until 1960.
Building on recent work on the political and everyday nature of comedy, this paper seeks to situate thegenre of stand-up comedy as a form of capitalist social relations. The paper focuses on the emergenceof Alternative Comedy in the 1980s in contrast to the comedy of Working Men’s Clubs. This culturaldevelopment is placed in the context of Marx’s understanding of capitalist society and a critique ofAdorno’s notion of the culture industry. The paper argues that this radical change in British comedywas only made possible by the policies of the British state in the 1980s. In particular, the paperconsiders the changing ideas comedians had of property, propriety and performance. WhileAlternative Comedy was highly critical of Thatcherism and neoliberalism, it owed its existence to thesemodes of state management. The paper contends, then, that comedy can be seen as a form of classstruggle and should not be judged by its capacity to be a mere instrument of resistance, or condemnedby some spurious inability to achieve this. The paper concludes by considering the development ofcomedy production since the 1980s.
This paper seeks to problematize the historical significance of the EU for British governing strategy with reference to immigration policy and the concept of depoliticisation. Situating British governing strategy in terms of the crisis-prone nature of capitalist society, this paper argues that British immigration policy has been depoliticised through, initially, the invocation of globalisation and, more recently, the EU. Through this strategy, the British state has been able to repeatedly claim that immigration policy is largely out of its hands, as they have no control over workers wishing to enter Britain looking for work. This paper makes three claims: firstly, immigration policy has been used as a means by both Conservative and Labour governments to manage inflation and labour; secondly, successive governments have sought to depoliticise immigration policy throughreference to external forces; thirdly, this strategy of depoliticisation ultimately failed, politicising Britain’s relationship with the EU and creating conditions for Britain’s exit from the EU.
This article develops a critical engagement with the politics of British satire. After first engaging the mainstream critique of satire—that it promotes cynicism and apathy by portraying politicians in stereotypically corrupt terms—we develop a performative approach to comedy as an everyday vernacular of political life. Beyond a focus on ‘impact’, we suggest that satire can be read as an everyday form of political reflection that performs within a social context. This argument yields an image of Morris, Iannucci and Brooker as important critics of contemporary British politics, a point which we explore through their interventions on media form, political tragedy and political agency.
Approaches to depoliticisation have tended to focus on its use as a domestic strategy. Where the literature tends to be lacking is in consideration of its international role. This article examines the way in which imperialist policies have been depoliticized through technically managed or apparently economic institutions. It explores the way in which British imperial strategy was depoliticised by the use of the Sterling Area, analysing an episode in British-Malayan relations in which the apolitical character of the Sterling Area was brought into question.
The article focuses on Britain’s relationship with Malaya shortly before and after its independence from the British Empire. The article looks at the negotiations concerning the financial settlement prior to independence. Britain sought to keep Malaya within the sterling area at all costs, even after de jure convertibility had been achieved, due to its high dollar earning capacity, which remained important due to persistent trade deficits with the US from the end of the Second World War. The article argues that this settlement, while seemingly very generous for an independent Malaya, was still very much intended to maintain Britain’s role within the global economy, to ensure sterling’s status as an international currency and to support conditions for British economic growth.
This article seeks to review the recent incarnation of a long-standing engagement in international political economy (IPE) and critical theory between open Marxist perspectives (OMPs) and their critics. The article aims to identify the enduring relevance of this debate in order to think about the possibility and future of critical social inquiry in our time constructively. It criticises elements on both sides of the debate that no longer serve but rather hinder achieving this objective. We argue that the recent criticisms make a number of important constructive points that could help enhance the explanatory power of OMPs yet still portray the latter uncharitably. We propose to take the emphasis on openness in OMPs seriously as a scholarly and political orientation without immersing the debate with the charges of reductionism, instrumentalism, determinism and functionalism which are frequently raised by various versions of Marxism against one another—often to little avail.
A prominent theme in scholarly analyses of contemporary international affairs concerns the extent to which the unrivalled power and activities of the United States can be said to constitute a form of imperialism. Typically, the contours of this debate centre on the ostensible differences between 'old' and 'new' varieties of imperialist practice. Yet the concept of 'new imperialism' remains one on which little consensus exists. Wide differences of opinion on its origins, dynamics and characteristics are evident, as is an analytical bifurcation between distinct 'economic' and 'geopolitical' explanations. This absence of conceptual unity leads to accounts of new imperialist strategy that are partial, limited and incomplete. If the theoretical value of new imperialism is to be realised, a more holistic approach is needed. To this end, some of the key differences between the contexts of new and old imperialism are explored. The paper concludes that a holistic approach requires an appreciation of imperialism as a strategic choice that springs forth from the intersection of the goals and perceptions held by, as well as the constraints on and opportunities available to, state managers. The distinct environment within which this choice is made provides the novelty of contemporary imperialism, and the particular nature of this environment is further explored in this paper.
The relationship between Marxism and imperialism has been established since the writings of Marx himself. Particularly in Capital, Volume I, Marx discusses the international division of labour caused by the expansion of capital in Ch.15, English capital in Ireland in Ch.25, as well as engaging with a theory of colonialism in Ch.33 ( 1992a). Marx’s own views on both colonialism and imperialism have been well discussed in critical analysis of both his well- and lesser-known texts, many of which are presented in the compendium text ‘On Colonialism’ (Marx & Engels 2001; see, also, Pradella 2013; Nimtz 2002). However, the study of imperialism post-Marx grew from a belief that, while some analysis of imperialism was present in the works of Marx, a dedicated analysis of the state and the international sphere had been left at an embryonic stage. This is broadly true but this view has received criticism based on historiographical analysis of both Marx and the earliest authors on imperialism (Pradella 2013). The phenomenon of imperialism, while still discussed by Marx in a number of instances, was not given the same sustained critical attention as other issues in Marx’s work. This is the point at which Marxism’s engagement with imperialism becomes more profound and substantial. Imperialism, therefore, to Marxism has always been a ‘problem’ of some form.
Indeed, the ‘problem’ of imperialism derives from a number of perceived sources: gaps in Marx’s own writing; an explanation for why capitalism endures; an account of the phenomenon of globalisation. It is the contention of this chapter, then, that the on-going relationship between Marxism and imperialism reveals one of Marxism’s main strengths, and its clear weaknesses. It reveals Marxism’s capacity to explain new phenomena coupled with a rigorous and critical method; however, it also reveals a reliance on systemic explanations for contingent developments, and a considerable partisanship between radical thinkers.
This relationship between Marxism and imperialism therefore begins early in the 20th Century with the work of the ‘classical’ authors of imperialism, building on the work of Marx and critiquing extant understandings of imperialism, particularly John Hobson’s. This chapter charts the origins of this relationship and its various iterations throughout the 20th century until the present. This relationship has, fundamentally, changed very little, deriving largely from Marx’s own work, and the work of the first Marxist theorists of imperialism. Indeed, the relationship is iterative rather than developmental, with particular ideas within Marxist theories of imperialism recurring perpetually. Most notably, the overarching power of Finance, or monopoly capital, within capitalism, and the idea of imperialism as a qualitatively distinct ‘stage’ of capitalist development are extremely powerful ideas within the tradition of Marxist theories of imperialism.
The paper will be split into three sections according to various ‘phases’ of Marxist thought on imperialism: firstly, the ‘classical’ Marxists, from Hilferding to Lenin; secondly, the ‘neo- Colonialist’ thinkers; and finally, the ‘New’ imperialists.