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Major research award for global politics study at Exeter

A world wide study into the affects of ethnicity on politics and society is beginning at the University of Exeter, thanks to £738,000 of funding from the Leverhulme Trust.

Gareth Stansfield, Associate Professor in Middle East Politics, will lead a team of researchers dedicated to the study of ‘ethnopolitics’ for the next 5 years.

The project will explore how and why life in many parts of the world seems to be dominated by ethnicity or the sense of belonging to a particular community, and how this affects societies in terms of how different ethnic groups interact with each other.

Dr Gareth Stansfield says: “It is rare for a day to go by in which news broadcasts do not contain some images relating to conflict of an ‘ethnic’ or ‘sectarian’ nature, from Palestine, Iraq, or the former Yugoslavia, through to problems in the cities of Europe as multi-culturalism is called increasingly into question. Ethnopolitics looks at the role of ethnic groups in political developments and is of significance around the world. Exeter will be taking the lead among UK universities by establishing this centre”.

Four researchers and three PhD students will be recruited to join a new centre led by Dr Stansfield, with involvement from other prominent academics already in Exeter. The field of ethnopolitics brings together political scientists, historians, social anthropologists, psychologists and geographers, among others. The study’s principal focus would be upon the most obvious examples of ethnopolitical conflict, including (but not limited to) Iraq, the Balkans, Ireland, Palestine, and Chechnya. The causes and management of conflict and the impact of gender will also be studies, along with statistical modelling of ethnopolitical issues.

Gareth Stansfield’s research is heavily focused upon ethnopolitical conflict in the Middle East. His recent work has focused upon the political development of the Kurds in Iraq, methods of conflict management (federalism, in particular), and conflict in divided cities.

The Leverhulme Trust, founded in 1925, awards around £30 million a year to support education and research. Dr Stansfield’s funding is a Research Leadership award, designed to support the building of a research team to tackle a distinctive research objective.

Abigail Dixon | alfa
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