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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science
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Professor Jack Corbett DPhil, The Australian National University; BA (Hons), The University of Melbourne

Professor of Politics

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My research focuses on how actors manage the dilemmas of democratic governance.

In 2019-20 I will be writing two books: on institutional memory (under contract, Cambridge University Press) with Dennis Grube, Heather Lovell and Rodney Scott; and on the participation of small states in international organisations (under contract, Bristol University Press) with Pat Weller and Yi-Chong Xu.

My previous books include: The Art of Comparison (2019, Cambridge University Press) with John Boswell and Rod Rhodes; Democracy in Small States: Persisting Against All Odds (2018, Oxford University Press) with Wouter Veenendaal; Australia’s Foreign Aid Dilemma: Humanitarian Aspirations Confront Democratic Legitimacy (2017, Routledge); and Being Political: Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands (2015, University of Hawaii Press). I have published more than 60 journal articles, book chapters and commentaries since 2012, including in World Development, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, European Journal of Political Research, Governance, Public Administration, and Policy Sciences. I have also co-edited two volumes: with Brij V. Lal Political Life Writing in the Pacific: Reflections on Practice (2015, Australian National University Press) and with Doug Munro Bearing Witness: Essays in Honour of Brij V. Lal (2017, Australian National University Press). 

I hold or have held research grants from the ESRC; British Academy; Australian Research Council; the Australian and New Zealand School of Government; and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I am deputy editor of Small States and Territories Journal; co-editor of the University of Hawaii Press Topics in the Contemporary Pacific book series; co-editor of Routledge Studies in Anti-politics and Democratic Crisis; and co-convenor of the UK Political Studies Association Specialist Group on Interpretive Political Science.  

I completed my PhD at The Australian National University in 2012. After an 18-month Postdoctoral Fellowship at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program I took up a Research Fellowship at Griffith University, Australia, on a joint appointment with the Centre for Governance and Public Policy and the Griffith Asia Institute. I joined the faculty at Southampton in January 2016. I hold honorary appointments at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University, and the Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University.

Research interests

Politics and International Relations
Centre for Political Ethnography

Research Projects:
I am Principle Investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project with Professors Weller and Xu (Griffith University) examining the impact of small state participation on decision making international organisations.

I am also a member of a four-person team headed by Associate Professor Dennis Grube (University of Tasmania) conducting an Australia and New Zealand School of Government funded project on Institutional Memory and Public Private Partnerships.



Co-convenor with R.A.W Rhodes of the Political Studies Association’s Interpretive Political Science Specialist Group



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Book Chapters

  • Wood, M., Flinders, M., & Corbett, J. (2020). Anti-politics and democratic innovations. In S. Elstub, & O. Escobar (Eds.), Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance (pp. 148-160). Edward Elgar.
  • Corbett, J., & Connell, J. (2020). Small states in the Pacific. In G. Baldacchino, & A. Wivel (Eds.), Handbook on the Politics of Small States (pp. 343-360). UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Rhodes, R. A. W., & Corbett, J. (Accepted/In press). Ethnographic approaches. In R. Andeweg, R. E., L. Helms, J. Kaarbo, & F. Müller- Rommel (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Executives Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Corbett, J. (2018). What makes a zero carbon home zero carbon. In R. A. W. Rhodes (Ed.), Narrative Policy Analysis: Cases in Decentred Policy (Understanding Governance). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Corbett, J. (2017). Curtain call: Interview with Brij V. Lal. In D. Munro, & J. Corbett (Eds.), Bearing Witness: Essays in Honour of Brij V. Lal (pp. 47-62). (State, Society and Governance in Melanesia). ANU Press. DOI: 10.22459/BW.07.2017
  • Munro, D., & Corbett, J. (2017). Editors' Introduction. In Bearing Witness : Essays in Honour of Brij V. Lal (pp. 3-9). (State, Society and Governance in Melanesia). ANU Press. DOI: 10.22459/BW.07.2017
  • Corbett, J. (2017). Meetings with the three Lals: that’s Brij Lal, Professor Lal and Brij V. Lal. In D. Munro, & J. Corbett (Eds.), Bearing Witness: Essays in Honour of Brij V. Lal (pp. 287-293). (State, Society and Governance in Melanesia). ANU Press. DOI: 10.22459/BW.07.2017
  • Corbett, J. (2015). Political life writing in the Pacific Islands. In J. Corbett, & B. V. Lal (Eds.), Political Life Writing in the Pacific Islands: Reflections on Practice (pp. 1-12). Canberra, AU: ANU Press.
  • Corbett, J., & Fraenkel, J. (2015). Tuvalu. In S. Levine (Ed.), Pacific Ways: Government and Politics in the Pacific Islands (Second Edition) Wellington, AU: Victoria University Press.

Journal Special Issue




Working Paper

In convene PAIR2010 Democracy and the Modern State; PAIR3040 Democracy and Democratisation in Global Politics; and PAIR6039  “Foreign Aid and International Security” 

Professor Jack Corbett
Politics & International Relations, Social Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/3079

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