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Dr Ben Whitham

Job: Lecturer in International Relations

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Department of Politics & Public Policy

Address: HU3.85

T: +44 (0)116 250 6082




Personal profile

Ben Whitham is a Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and Public Policy at De Montfort University, Leicester.

He holds a Leverhulme Trust-funded PhD in Politics from the University of Reading, an MA in International Relations and Globalisation from London Metropolitan University and a BA in Politics from the University of East London.

Ben¹s core research interests lie at the intersection of political theory, international relations, war and security studies, and sociology. His PhD explored the discursive construction of post-Cold War British security policies and practices and contextualised them within the wider framing of a Œneoliberal way of war.

In addition to working on research outputs from his doctoral research, Ben¹s current research is exploring and expanding key concepts from critical and poststructural social theory, especially a Marxian-Lacanian concept of ideology and Michel Foucault¹s concept of governmentality. He is beginning to research the ways in which neoliberalism  conceived as both an ideology and a mode of governmentality ­ has shaped recent policies and practices in the field of health and social care. Ben is particularly interested in how policies and practices informed by so-called behavioural insights drawn from behavioural economics in health and other policy areas ­ are increasingly deployed to shape the micro-social world of people¹s everyday lives and decision-making, and what this trend can tell us about the neoliberal state and its relationship with populations in the context of post-crash austerity.

Publications and outputs 

Whitham, B. (forthcoming 2017) [Book review] Timothy P.R. Weaver, Blazing the Neoliberal Trail: Urban Political Development in the United States and the United Kingdom. University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, PA. Political Studies Review, 15: 2. 

Whitham, B., Greenhalgh, L. and Ogunye, T. (2016), Learning from mistakes: How complaints can drive improvements to public services, London: Citizens Advice. 

Greenhalgh, L. and Whitham, B. (2016), Hidden charges in care homes: Exploring consumer protections within the care home market, London: Citizens Advice.

Whitham, B. (2014), [Book review] Milja Kurki (2012), Democratic Futures: Re-Visioning Democracy Promotion. Abingdon: Routledge. Political Studies Review, 12: 2, May 2014, p. 259.

Whitham, B. (2013), ŒFrom security to resilience? (Neo)Liberalism, war and terror after 9/11¹, Resilience, 1: 3, pp. 219-229.

Research interests/expertise

  • Theories of International Relations (IR)
  • War, security and terrorism
  • Health policy
  • Behavioural economics as a policymaking tool
  • Liberalism and neoliberalism in theory and practice
  • Marxist, critical and Foucauldian post-structuralist social theory
  • Political and media discourse
  • Social research methodologies and the philosophy of social science

Areas of teaching

  • International Relations
  • International Security
  • Diplomacy
  • Health Policy


PhD Politics

MA International Relations and Globalisation

BA Politics

Membership of external committees

British International Studies Association (2009-present)

Conference attendance

Whitham, B. (2017) [invited speaker], ‘Critical discourse analysis in international politics: Rationale, opportunities and challenges’, a research methods workshop for postgraduate students in the School of Public Policy, University College London (UCL), 13th March 2017.

Whitham, B. (2017) 'Ways of seeing, ways of being: Re-assessing neoliberalism as ideology and governmentality', accepted for presentation at Neoliberalism in the Anglophone World, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3.

Whitham, B. (2016) 'Seeking asylum from poverty: Contesting the refugee/migrant paradigm', presented at Green Economics Institute Conference on Climate and Migration, University of Oxford.

Whitham, B. (2015) ŒWays of seeing, ways of being: analysing ideological discourse and governmental practice¹, presented at Mind the Gap, Please!, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick.

Ali, N. and Whitham, B. (2014) ŒThe unbearable anxiety of being Muslim¹, presented at Politics in Times of Anxiety, University of Manchester.

Heaven, C. and Whitham, B. (2014) ŒPracticing what you preach? Approaching Discourse and Practice in International Relations¹, presented at International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, Toronto.

Whitham, B. (2013) ŒThe Neoliberal Way of War: the diffusion of market ideology in discourses of state violence¹, presented at International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention, San Francisco.


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