The University of Glasgow has a long tradition of researching and teaching Politics, which dates back to the 1760s when Adam Smith gave a series of lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue and Arms.

Later years are associated with a series of leading figures in the history of the social sciences, such as Edward Caird (an undergraduate and then professor of moral philosophy from 1866 to 1893) and the jurist James Bryce (another student and author of the enduring classics The American Commonwealth (1888) and Modern Democracy (1921). In more recent years many of the discipline’s leading scholars have been associated with the department, including Archie Brown FBA, Christopher Hood FBA, W. J. M. (Bill) Mackenzie FBA, Geoffrey Marshall FBA, Graeme Moodie, Geraint Parry, Allen Potter, David Raphael and Howard Warrender.

We continue to study Politics from a broad base in close association with other social sciences (and with History, Philosophy and Law) and take a leading role in developing the discipline.

Today Politics at Glasgow produces innovative and influential research across three main clusters:

  1. Comparative Politics, with an emphasis on the quality of democracy, political communication and processes of political transformation, especially in the rising powers of China and Russia. Cluster research groups include: Citizens, Communication and Political Actors; Transformation.

  2. International Relations, especially the normative dimensions of security and EU external relations. Associated research groups include: Historic and International Theory (HINT); Glasgow Global Security Network.

  3. Human Rights, with a focus on the politics of protection and the gender, sexuality, rights nexus. Associated research groups include: Gender and Sexualities Forum; Glasgow Human Rights Network.

Beyond these three clusters we have maintained our long-standing research strength in political theory and the Scottish Enlightenment.

Through our research, we continue to take a leading role in developing the discipline. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise we achieved more 'gold standard' 4* research than any other Scottish Politics department. During the current REF period Politics staff were senior editors of several journals, most prominently the British Journal of Political Science, Politics (a PSA journal), Contemporary Italian Politics, the Journal of Eurasian Studies, and The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics.