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Politics and International Studies

An image of the European Parliament Building

Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at The Open University has an international reputation for research in British and comparative politics, citizenship, democracy and social movements, international relations and global politics, and political theory. Research within POLIS is organised around five corresponding areas: British and comparative politics; migration and citizenship studies; democracy and social movements; international relations and global politics; and political ideas. POLIS academics are active in the Strategic Research Areas in Citizenship and Governance and International Development and other transdisciplinary research clusters that bring together researchers from across the social sciences, promote public engagement and knowledge exchange, and contribute to theoretical and methodological innovation within social science research.

Key facts

  • Researchers in POLIS have recently led a Leverhulme research grant on noncitizenship and global migration governance; an AHRC funded grant titled, ‘Picturing Climate: Participatory Photography and Narrative Storytelling for Climate Change Education’; an ERC funded project titled, 'Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism', a research project on European Citizenship (ENACT), and an International Collaboratory on Critical Methods in Security Studies (ICCM).
  • Researchers in POLIS have been collaborating with Tate Modern and Counterpoints Arts on a knowledge exchange and public engagement programme titled Who Are We? ( Each year, artists and academics worked together to design a week-long programme at the Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange exploring issues of citizenship, democracy, migration, identity and belonging.
  • POLIS members are editors or board members of international academic journals, including: Citizenship Studies, Contemporary Political Theory, Contemporary Politics, Democratization, Economy and Society, Globalizations, International Political Sociology, and European Politics and Society.
  • POLIS researchers have recently contributed more than 400 (and growing) publications to the OU’s open access Online Research Repository.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Discipline Convenor
+44 (0)1908 654472

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.