PSIR student profiles

See current research students in the Political Science and International Relations programme and view their thesis topics and supervisors.

Current PSIR students

Students are listed alphabetically under their respective programmes and degrees.

International Relations PhD candidates

Political Science PhD candidates

Political Science Master of Arts students


International Relations PhD candidates

Sean Ainsworth

Thesis title

‘“War Will No Longer Be What It Was Originally”—Cyberspace and the Theory of War in 21st Century Conflict’

Supervisors

Cathy Downes and David Capie

About

Sean’s research focuses on cyberwarfare and the theory of war, exploring the ways in which technological advances and strategic shifts—including the rise of 'non-lethal' or 'non-violent' forms of warfare—have affected or changed our understand of what constitutes ‘war’ in contemporary international conflict. Drawing on Carl von Clausewitz’s theory of war, Sean’s research examines the effects that cyberwarfare, disruptive emerging technologies, and strategic shifts in military affairs may have on the dominant understanding of war’s enduring nature.

In his spare time, Sean volunteers for the Wellington SPCA and Good Bitches Baking.

See Sean’s Twitter feed.


Claire Fitzpatrick

Thesis title

‘Humanity’s Gone Viral: A Critical Analysis of the Role of Social Media and Its Influence on the Precariousness of Human Life’

Supervisors

Kate Schick and Michael Daubs (Media Studies)


Christian Gomez

Thesis title

TBA

Supervisor

Cathy Downes


David Hongik Kim

Thesis title

TBA

Supervisor

Rob Ayson


Eric Jeunot

Thesis title

‘A double-edged diplomacy approach to the role of Arabian tribes and tribal values in international relations’

Supervisors

Associate Professor Alex Bukh and Dr Manjeet Pardesi

Abstract

The negotiations of international agreements between states have been a subject of many academic researches, the double-edged diplomacy theory explains how several strategies creating a “win-set” allow states to succeed in their negotiations. Domestic actors and public opinion of democratic regimes have primarily been studied. This research contributes to the double-edged diplomacy theory expanding its application to states presenting a non-democratic regime with a tribal-based society. This research focuses on the tribal honour-based behaviour, governance and values as variables affecting the negotiations of international agreements between Arab tribal states in the Arabian Peninsula. The Yemen and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia international border agreements across the 20th century provide the ideal case studies to analyse the position of tribes and tribal values vis-à-vis the state at both domestic and international levels.

Eric is a member of the Middle East & Islamic Studies Aotearoa (MEISA) research network.

Email: eric.jeunot@vuw.ac.nz


Ge Lai

Thesis title

‘Distribution of Value Chains: Structure and Institutions of Regional Economic Integration in East Asia’

Supervisor

Xiaoming Huang

About

Ge Lai received her MA in economics in 2014, from University of International Business and Economics (Beijing). Her thesis is that market-driven industrial and productional forces are driving regionalism in East Asia. These productional networks from East Asia are global as well as regional. The structure of the East Asian economy explains the weakness of regionalism.

Areas of interest

East Asia as a region of international political economy; global value chains; production network; the structure of regional economy.


Dylan Stent

Thesis title

‘Fractured Nationalism in South Korea: How Does It Inform Policy Making toward North Korea?’

Supervisors

Van Jackson and Stephen Epstein (Asian Studies)


Mengdi Zhang

Thesis title

‘New Zealand–China Economics–Security Nexuses in Game Perspective’

Supervisors

Rob Ayson and Matthew Castle


Political Science PhD candidates

Ronny Basista

Thesis title

‘Elections, Party System, and Governability: The Case of Indonesia (1999–2019)’

Supervisor

Jack Vowles and Jon Fraenkel

About

This study explores the motivations behind the electoral reform process and the identification of those who are controlling Indonesia’s new politics and their role in the reforms. It will also discover the consequences of electoral reform and assess whether or not the outcomes were as expected. In addition, it will explore government and parliamentary relationships, the party system, and party institutionalisation.

Before commencing the PhD, I was a lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Terbuka—Indonesia Open University.

Links


Sam Bigwood

Thesis title

TBA

Supervisor

Jack Vowles


Sam Crawley

Thesis title

‘Public Will and the Political Response to Climate Change in Developed, Liberal Democracies’

Supervisors

Hilde Coffe (University of Bath) and Ralph Chapman (Environmental Science)

About

Sam Crawley’s thesis examines the relationship between public will and the political response to climate change in developed, liberal democracies. In many countries, including those that have inadequate climate change policy, the public broadly supports robust action on climate change. However, a closer examination of public opinion shows that many who support action rank climate change as a low priority issue, with issues such as the economy typically ranked higher. The thesis, then, investigates the nature of public will, and the extent to which it is a factor in the political response to climate change in different countries, comparing its influence to other factors such as that of economic elites.

Areas of interest

Public opinion, political behaviour, environmental politics, climate change politics, political representation


Diogo Duarte Valverde e França

Thesis title

‘The Diffusion of Populism: An Analysis of the Diffusion of Populist Politics’

Supervisors

Xavier Marquez and Fiona Barker


Jie Huang

Thesis title

‘Chinese New Zealanders’ Political Participation’

Supervisors

Jack Vowles and Kate McMillan

About

Jie Huang has a special interest in the process of immigrants’ political integration. His research probes the electoral participation levels and patterns of Chinese New Zealanders, as well as various factors that influence them to pursue political engagement in the receiving country.

Areas of interest

Electoral behaviour, public opinion, overseas Chinese study


Pavithra Jayawardena

Thesis title

‘Citizenship and Belonging of Sri Lankan Diaspora in New Zealand’

Supervisors

Kate McMillan and Ayca Arkilic

About

The concept of citizenship has traditionally been looked through the state’s point of view. In this research, Pavithra intends to look at citizenship through the lens of diasporic communities as to how they perceive it, while negotiating the sense of belonging with their home countries.

Prior to commencing the PhD, Pavithra was a lecturer in International Relations in the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Areas of interest

Migration, citizenship, diaspora studies


Kaitlin Martin-Feek

Thesis title

‘Sport as a “Terrain of Resistance”: Counternarratives of National Identity within the New Zealand All Blacks’

Supervisors

Fiona Barker and Claire Timperley


Nguyen Khac Giang

Thesis title

‘Political Accountability, State Capacity, and Authoritarian Resilience in Vietnam and China’

Supervisors

Xavier Marquez and Xiaoming Huang

About

This project aims to explain why state capacity varies in authoritarian regimes, and the impacts of this variation for their prospects of resilience and political change. Using the comparative case study of two within-typology authoritarian regimes (Vietnam and China), I argue that their different level of political accountability plays a dominant role in explaining this variation. In the long run, regimes with low accountability face the risk of internal factionalisation, while regimes with high accountability are more exposed to the risk of elite-mass tensions.

In addition to his research, Giang writes regularly for major Vietnamese news media outlets, the East Asia Forum, and the Diplomat.

Links


Yue Sun

Thesis title

‘Poverty Alleviation in China’

Supervisor

Jason Young


Anne-Mette Sundahl

Thesis title

‘Cults of Personalities—A Totalitarian Concept or System of Dispersion of Power? A Discussion of the Concept and Comparative Analysis of Visual Leader Representations in Russia and the US’

Supervisor

Xavier Marquez


David Wilson

Thesis title

‘Influences on New Zealand Parliamentary Procedure between 1935 and 2015’

Supervisors

Elizabeth McLeay and Jon Fraenkel


Political Science Master of Arts students

Nashie Shamoon

Thesis title

‘Shadows of the Past: The Role of Persecution in the Self-Identification of the Young Assyrian Diaspora in New Zealand and Australia’

Supervisor

Caroline Bennett (Anthropology)