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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, Departmental Research Director

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My research focuses on how actors manage the dilemmas of democratic governance. I have explored this theme in a variety of contexts but the bulk of my work has focused on small island states and territories.

I am currently writing a book tentatively titled: Self-Determination, Development, and the Politics of Postcolonial Statehood: Balancing the Autonomy-Viability Dilemma in the Caribbean and the Pacific (under contract for Oxford University Press).

My previous books include International Organisations and Small States (2021, Bristol University Press) with Pat Weller and Yi-Chong Xu; Institutional Memory as Storytelling (2020, Cambridge University Press Elements) with Dennis Grube, Heather Lovell and Rodney Scott; The Art and Craft 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 Review of International Studies. 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 and co-editor of the University of Hawaii Press Topics in the Contemporary Pacific book series; 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. 

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 lead the Governance Work Package of the ESRC funded research project Teleconnected SARgassum risks across the Atlantic: building capacity for TRansformational Adaptation in the Caribbean and West Africa (SARTRAC)

I am the Principle Investigator on a Developmental Leadership Project funded research project on Transnational Leadership in the Pacific Islands with Dr Ng Shiu and Dr Carter (The Australian National University)

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



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I convene PAIR 2032/3040 Democracy and Democratisation in Global Politics; PAIR 2054/3052 Dilemmas of Leadership; PAIR2004 Qualitative Research in Politics & International Relations; and RESM 6001 Philosophy of Social Science.

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

Room Number : 58/3079

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