Dr Jamie M. Johnson

Contact details

  • Office: Attenborough Tower 906
  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2657
  • Email: jmj14@le.ac.uk
  • Twitter: @jamcjo
  • Office hours (Semester 2 2017/18): Wednesdays 11:00am-12:00pm and Wednesdays 2:00pm-3:00pm

Personal details

Dr Jamie M. Johnson joined the department as Lecturer in Security, Conflict and International Development in August 2017. He had previously held positions at the University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield.

Jamie completed his undergraduate (Economics and Politics) and postgraduate (International Politics) degrees in the Department of Politics, University of Manchester. He remained in Manchester for his funded doctoral research on the politics of violence in Afghanistan, which was supervised by Professor Maja Zehfuss and Professor Peter Lawler. Jamie was awarded his PhD in 2014.

Jamie’s primary research areas are in war and security studies. Specifically, he is interested in the ethical arguments regarding the use of violence in international politics and the challenges of imagining non-violent futures. He is also interested in everyday militarisation and the role of education in conflict and post-conflict societies.

Jamie is currently the convenor of the Global Challenges Research Group (GCRG) research group. He is also the Deputy Director of the International Relations Distance Learning (IRDL) programme and the Programme Director of the MSc Security, Conflict and International Development.


My primary teaching interests reside within war studies, security studies and the practice and theorisation of international politics more broadly.

My aim as a teacher is to design courses that are highly relevant, conceptually and methodologically rigorous, intellectually challenging and, most importantly, engaging. A crucial aspect of this is ensuring that my teaching encourages students to confront the key issues and challenges that define contemporary international politics. Reflecting upon and responding to these important challenges requires students to immerse themselves in the plurality of methods and concepts that can help them to critically and independently unpack these puzzles. The primary goal of my teaching is therefore to create a supportive environment that fosters the intellectual development of independent scholars who are able to critically interrogate the practical challenges of our day.

During the 2017/18 academic year, I will teach on the following modules:

  • PL1020 Classics of International Relations
  • PL7521 The International Politics of Protection (IRDL)
  • PL7530 The Politics of Conflict and Violence (IRDL)

I am also the Programme Director of the MSc Security, Conflict and International Development responsible for convening the following modules:

  • CR7581 Conflict Prevention, Response and Recovery
  • CR7582 Security and Rule of Law in Post-Conflict States
  • CR7583 Research Methods
  • CR7584 Security Sector Reform
  • CR7585 Human Rights, Justice and Security
  • CR7586 International Security Risks

Research interests:

  • Wartime scandals and the ethics of war
  • Everyday militarisation and memorialisation
  • The politics of education in conflict and post-conflict societies
  • Post-structural, post-colonial and feminist approaches to international politics

(a) Wartime Scandals and the Ethics of War

My primary research focus is on the ethics of contemporary warfare. I am particularly interested in what wartime scandals tell us about the relationship between war and ethics. At first glance, it may appear that scandals perform a crucial role in shining the spotlight on powerful actors, allowing us to hold them to account for transgressive acts of violence. In this sense, scandals can be situated as part of a wider project of ‘truth-telling’ in times of war, thereby ensuring transparency, accountability and the democratic scrutiny of wartime conduct.

Drawing on the work of the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, my research explores how wartime scandals not only offer us a privileged insight into the character of contemporary arguments, but also play a crucial role in reproducing them. Specifically, I argue that the socio-political function of scandal helps to legitimise the very thing they appear to call into question. Put simply, I am interested in demonstrating how scandals appear to call for more not less violence. This interest in wartime scandals reflects a wider interest in the tensions, anxieties and challenges of imagining less violent futures in international politics.

(b) Everyday Militarisation

I am also increasingly interested in the notion of ‘everyday militarisation’. For many, with notable exceptions, the lived experience of the ‘war on terror’ is as something that has happened ‘over there’. Viewed through television screens or on the pages of newspapers, the dominant cultural understanding of war is premised upon a fairly discrete spatial configuration of ‘homefront’ and ‘battlefront’. Drawing upon the insights offered by a significant body of feminist literature, I am increasingly interested in exploring the role of practices as varied as the Royal British Legion’s annual ‘Poppy Appeal’ and the UK Government’s drive to promote ‘fundamental British values’ in schools, as accelerating the collapse and inter-dependence of these two spaces. Specifically, I am interested in exploring what role this complex assemblage of practices plays in shaping public attitudes and popular imaginaries about the legitimacy of war as an instrument of foreign policy.

I encourage any comments and guidance on how to shape and refine the early stages of my interest in the ways in which violent popular imaginaries are reproduced in the everyday spaces of social life.

(c) The Politics of Education

Another strand of my research explores the role of education in Afghanistan. As well as playing a crucial part in legitimating the international interventions in Afghanistan, the international community has placed considerable faith in the transformative potential of education to facilitate the transition from war to peace. Often reduced to a largely depoliticised and technocratic process of capacity-building, my research highlights how education reform in Afghanistan remains a fraught and violent, political project. Involved in reorganising the social, political, economic, religious and cultural fabric of Afghan life, this research situates education reform at the heart of the post-2001 interventionary project in Afghanistan.

(d) Drone Warfare

I have previously worked on the politics of drone warfare. During my time at the University of Birmingham I was a research assistant on the sixth University of Birmingham Policy Commission on the ‘Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK’. Led by Professor Sir David Omand GCB and Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler, the policy commission explored the implications of developments in science and technology in transforming the landscape of security and defence and the implications this has for UK public policy in a national, regional and international context. The final report was published in October 2014.


Johnson, JM. (2017) ‘Beyond a politics of recrimination: Ethics, scandal and the rehabilitation of violence’European Journal of International Relations, 23(3): 703-726.

Recent invited papers and keynote lectures

(2017) 'Beyond Biopolitics? Contesting the Life and Times of Liberal War'. Paper presented at the European International Studies Association (EISA) conference, Barcelona.

(2017) 'War and the Politics of Outrage'. Paper presented at the European International Studies Association (EISA) conference, Barcelona.

(2017) 'Misery Metrics: Humanitarian Knowledge and the Production of Spaces in Crisis'. Paper presented at a special workshop held by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester.

(2017) ‘The Courage of Truth-Telling and the Politics of Wartime Scandals’. Paper presented at the British International Studies Association (BISA) conference, Brighton.

(2016) ‘The Success of Failure: The Politics of Wartime Scandals’. Paper presented to the Critical Global Politics cluster, University of Manchester.

(2015) ‘Lest We Forget… What?: A Reflection on the Politics of the Poppy Appeal’. Paper presented at a special workshop held by the Critical Global Politics, University of Manchester.

(2015) ‘The “Cultural-Turn” in the U.S. Way of War: Human, Humane, Humanitarian’. Paper presented as part of the ‘Crises of Inclination and Imagination? Ethics, Violence and the Politics of Protection’ section at the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: The Worlds of Violence, Sicily.

(2015) ‘Scandal, Ethics and the Rehabilitation of Violence’. Paper presented as part of the ‘Ethics and Security’ section at the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: The Worlds of Violence, Sicily.

(2015) ‘Living in the End Times: Contesting the Conservatism of Biopolitics’. Paper presented as part of the ‘The Legacy of Foucault in International Relations: Querying the Bases, Boundaries and Possibilities’ section at the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: The Worlds of Violence, Sicily.

(2015) ‘The New Ethical Terrain in International Relations’. Paper presented at the International Studies Association (ISA) conference, New Orleans.

(2015) ‘From Virtual War to Counterinsurgency: The Evolving Role of the Human in the Practical and Ethical Rehabilitation of Violence’. Co-authored paper (with Dr Helen Dexter, University of Leicester) presented at the International Studies Association (ISA)conference, New Orleans.

(2015) ‘The Success of Failure: Rethinking Scandal and the Politics of Recrimination in War’. Paper presented at the International Studies Association (ISA) conference, New Orleans.

(2014). ‘The Politics of Violence in Afghanistan’. Paper presented to the International Politics Research Group, University of Sheffield.

(2014) ‘The “Cultural-Turn” in the U.S. Way of War: Human, Humane, Humanitarian’, invited presentation as part of ‘The New Ethical Terrain in International Relations’ section at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) conference, Glasgow.

(2014) ‘The Biopolitics of Anxiety’, invited presentation at the Politics in Time of Anxiety conference, University of Manchester.

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Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702
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