Dr James Dawson
(Acting) Director MSc Democracy and Comparative Politics and Teaching Fellow
James joined the teaching staff at the department in 2013 and currently serves as acting Director of MSc Democracy and Comparative Politics. Before taking up this post, James taught classes in Politics at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and King’s College London Department of Political Economy.
He studied for his PhD at UCL Department of Political Science between 2009 and 2013, successfully defending his thesis under the title ‘The Elusive Liberal Citizen: Democratisation and Public Spheres in Serbia and Bulgaria’. Starting from the notion that citizens can only attain the capacity to uphold liberal democratic institutions when they both understand and identify with the principles enshrined in them, this thesis project was based on 12 months of comparative ethnographic and focus group research in both countries. James is currently working on the book manuscript alongside a digital ethnography of anti-government protests in Bulgaria. He has previously published in Nationalities Papers and reviews for Problems of Post-Communism among other journals.
General Research Interests
• Democratization and Democracy Measurement
• Civil Society and Public Spheres in Central and Eastern Europe
• Nationalist Politics and Everyday Practices of Identification
• Qualitative Research Methods
• Theory and Practice of Comparison, Ethnographic and Survey Research.
• James’ PhD research was funded by a +3 Award from the Economic and Social Research Council.
• From 2007-2009, James received a CEELBAS scholarship to pursue the MRes in East European Studies at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
• ‘The Ethnic and Non-Ethnic Politics of Everyday Life in Bulgaria’s Southern Borderland’, Nationalities Papers, Volume 40, Number 3, 1 May 2012, pp. 473-489.
• ‘Sporting Practices and National Identity in Dimitrovgrad’/ ‘Sportska Praksa I Nacionalni Identitet u Dimitrovgradu’ (co-authored with Vladan Petrović), Teme, Volume 35, Number 4, October-December 2011, pp. 1543-1558.
Conference Presentations (selected)
• ‘The Mismatch Between Formalist Democracy Measurement and Everyday Political Practice in Bulgaria and Serbia’, Presented at Research Seminar Series, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, December 2012
• ‘Two Contexts, Many Understandings of Politics’ Presented at ‘Apples and Oranges: Practicing Comparison’, Goldsmiths, University of London, September 2012
• ‘Comparison with Sensitivity to Context’ presented at the International Studies Association – North East Conference Methods Workshop, Baltimore, USA, November 2010