New Doctoral School to be launched by NPCU PhDs this week with: Insurgent Politics!

The inaugural public event of Royal Holloway's new cross-faculty Doctoral School will be held on Wednesday 22nd October. The event, Insurgent Politics, will see provocative talks from PhD students at the New Political Communication Unit in the Department of Politics and International Relations. All three PhDs came through our masters programme and show the vitality of our postgraduate research. This is the first in a series of PhD Conversation events that roll out in the coming year. 

Where? International Building room 007

When? 1pm-2pm, 22nd October

Ours is a time of widespread and sustained challenge to the rules of “politics-as-usual”. In Western Europe and North America, recent months have seen political insurgencies of widely varying styles and ideological hues confronting and in some cases overturning conventional wisdom about how democratic political movements work; challenging received assumptions of the purpose and style of political discourse; and asking fundamental questions of prevailing political orthodoxies and the boundaries they set to public debates, above all on economic austerity. The popular responses they have provoked, especially though by no means exclusively amongst the supposedly apolitical younger generations in the advanced democracies, have confounded reduced expectations about the possibilities of populist political mobilisation in an age of widespread disaffection with political establishments and elites. Syriza in Greece; Podemos in Spain; the SNP tsunami in Scotland; UK Uncut, the E15 and other housing protests, and Russell Brand; “Corbynmania”; Bernie Sanders’ unexpectedly strong challenge for the Democratic primary nomination; on the political right, even Donald Trump (and before him the Tea Party), are all manifestations.

What do these trends mean? What do these diverse movements have in common? How have these insurgencies come about and how do they work? What is their relationship to conventional electoral politics? Will they fade as quickly as they arose? Can new social media sustain and built long-term popular political movements or are they vulnerable to the whims of an amnesiac digital culture? Will political establishments be able to rebuff the challenge of the outsiders, or even to absorb their energies into mainstream politics? What does political leadership look like in this new era?

To address these and other topics we have assembled a panel of current PGR students in the Department of Politics and International Relations:

Ibrahim Halawi is a second year PhD candidate supervised by Sandra Halperin and Akil Awan. His research focuses on the relationship between revolution and counter-revolution with particular interest in the case of the Arab Spring.

Declan McDowell-Naylor is a second year PhD student supervised by Andy Chadwick and Ben O'Loughlin. His research focuses on the development and relationship of ethics, technology and politics.

Ellen Watts is a second year PhD candidate in the New Political Communication Unit, supervised by Andy Chadwick and Ben O'Loughlin. Her research focuses on the interventions of celebrities in British politics.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Professor Barry Langford, Associate Dean, Royal Holloway Doctoral School. All are very welcome.