Bridging the Gap: Do practitioners recognise academic accounts of international politics?
  • Plymouth Lecture Theatre, Portland Square Building

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This event examined how academic accounts of international politics stack up against the experiences of practitioners, exploring the relevance of social science, specifically political science. 

The aim was to increase public awareness of the impact the social sciences makes in contemporary politics. In particular, we hoped to promote Politics and International Relations, both as degree programmes and research communities deserving of public support. At a more basic level we believe in the value of sharing the experiences of highly experienced diplomats with the public, students and academics. 

The audience heard what it is like to work in an embassy, negotiate treaties, and implement a range of policies. The participants discussed how government's gather and analyse data relevant to policymaking. There was also scope to talk on more specific policy issues. Engaging with practitioners and the public helped academics and students better understand the real-world relevancy of their discipline(s). 

Chair and participant: Dr Christian Emery (Plymouth University). Participants: Scott Proudfoot (Minister Counsellor, Canadian High Commission London); Martin Garrett (Americas Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office); Professor Graeme Herd (Plymouth University). We held a roundtable discussion (including academics) on the topic of how social scientists can make their research accessible and relevant to practitioners and the public. Students and members of the audience were then  invited to submit questions. 

Plymouth has a strong focus on widening participation, aiming to encourage under-represented groups into higher education. As well as marketing the event through posters in public spaces, we invited local students and teachers. A podcast, available to the public via the University’s digital media presence, also supported the teaching of our Global Politics module (for example. ‘theory in practise’ seminar).

Biography: Dr Christian Emery

Dr Emery is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University. Chris is interested in all aspects of post-war US foreign policy, with specific expertise in US policy in Iran. His work tries to advance our understanding of why US-Iranian relations remain so dysfunctional despite a number of shared interests and numerous opportunities for rapprochement. Recently, Chris has started a new collaborative research project, which draws on role theory to examine the relationship between national role conceptions and Iran’s international and domestic political behaviour. Chris’s book US Foreign Policy and the Iranian Revolution: The Cold War Dynamics of Engagement and Strategic Alliance was published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2013.

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