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Professor Eric HerringM.A.(Aberd.), M.Sc.(Econ.), Ph.D.(Wales)

Professor of World Politics

Eric Herring

Professor Eric HerringM.A.(Aberd.), M.Sc.(Econ.), Ph.D.(Wales)

Professor of World Politics

Member of

Research interests

My current research and impact activities have two main components:

First, I am Co-Director with Latif Ismail, CEO of Transparency Solutions (TS), of the Somali First (SF) initiative to promote Somali-led development through impartial facilitation, research, training and education. The University of Bristol supports Somali First as a Strategic Priority and has awarded TS the status of Strategic Partner. The approach to development seen far too often is that foreign organisations generate project ideas and appoint consultancy teams at arm’s length and short notice, with limited chance of leaving a positive longer-term legacy. In that flawed approach, Somalis are kept in subordinate positions and are defined as lacking capacity that has to be provided by outsiders. In contrast, Somali-led development encourages self-help and builds on local capacities. It is more cost effective, more relevant to local needs and more sustainable. Academics who wish to work productively with Somalis do not have to be experts on Somalia/Somaliland: Somalis are the experts on Somalia/Somaliland, so our work is about combining academic knowledge with Somali knowledge. Both sides lack capacities that the other can provide. We have a balanced relationship across government, business, civil society and academia in Somalia/Somaliland and with the Somali diaspora, including the Somali community in Bristol. We are aiming to transform the process of development itself so that it is Somali led by integrating our approach across issues and through levels of governance.

Although SF was established only at the start of 2015, we already have many projects, including a joint programme with the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention with $700,000 from the international Somalia Stability Fund to train sixty Somali social researchers between 2015 and 2017. SF received the University of Bristol Engagement Award 2015: see our 5 minute film. SF resulted from a project for which I was Principal Investigator with £245,000 of funding 2013-15 from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Transformative Social Science programme for 'genuinely transformative research at the frontiers of social science'. The project title was 'Transforming Insecurity through Nonviolent Grassroots Networks', grant number ESRC ES/L003171/1.

Second, I have been working with Piers Robinson, Vian Bakir and David Miller on a conceptual framework on ‘organised persuasive communication'. This has included Open Access articles with Piers Robinson in Political Science Quarterly and the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies on the British Government’s use of deliberate deception through distortion and omission in the period leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.



  • Herring, E. and G. Rangwala. Iraq in Fragments: The Occupation and its Legacy (Cornell University Press & C. Hurst 2006). 'This is a first-rate study of the consequences for Iraq of the US-led invasion and occupation of the country and of the kind of politics that has developed there. The authors use state-building theory and the insights of international political economy to throw light on the processes which have been set in motion and which are going to shape Iraqi politics for years to come. At the same time, their narrative is a lively one, packed with detail and informed by a real understanding of the fears and ambitions of many of the Iraqi political actors. This complex story of idealism, greed and violence, woven through social formations and the pale institutions of the emerging Iraqi state, produces a compelling account - the clearest yet available of the "new Iraq".' ( Prof. Charles Tripp, SOAS, University of London). 'Iraq in Fragments stands out as an admirably sober and powerful analysis of one of the most complicated and emotionally charged issues in today's world politics. With its lucid account, impressive research, and extensive documentation, the book is challenging and compelling. It should be a must-read for all Iraq specialists, foreign policy experts, and policy- and opinion- makers. Students of international relations, as well as general readers, will also benefit greatly from this up-to-date work.' (Prof. Tareq Y. Ismael, University of Calgary). 'serious … persuasive … splendidly researched … required reading' (Prof. Jeffrey Record, Middle East Policy Council). 'excellent … compelling … better than any other' (Prof. Robert Springborg, SOAS, University of London). 'the best of the lot' (Prof. Richard Haas, US Council on Foreign Relations). 'doubtless an important contribution ... essential' (Prof. Adria Lawrencem Yale University).

  • Buzan, B. and E. Herring, The Arms Dynamic in World Politics (Lynne Rienner 1998). Published in Chinese 2002. 'a winner - a signal contribution … cuts through hundreds of books and articles' (Prof. KJ Holsti, University of British Columbia). 'ambitious, noteworthy … an unambiguous success' (Professor Denis Ross, University of New Mexico). 'highly sophisticated … first class' (Prof. Andrew Pierre, Georgetown University). 'creates an agenda for future dialogue between the fields of security studies and international relations' (Dr. Bryan Mabee, Queen Mary, University of London).

  • Herring, E. (ed.). Preventing the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Frank Cass 2000).

  • Herring, E., Danger and Opportunity: Explaining International Crisis Outcomes (Manchester University Press, 1995). ' There is much to like about this book. Herring is knowledgeable about political science theory and wise in its ability and limitations to guide policy' (Prof. Steven David, Johns Hopkins University) . 'will no doubt have an impact on the discussion' (Prof. Colin Gray, University of Hull).

  • Pridham, G., E. Herring and G. Sanford (eds), Building Democracy? The International Dimension of Democratisation in Eastern Europe (Leicester University Press 1994, rev. edn. 1997). 'first-rate' (Prof. Paul G. Lewis, Open University ).

  • Booth, K. and E. Herring, Strategic Studies (Mansell 1994). 'wonderful', an 'Outstanding Academic Book' ( Choice ).

Journal articles (selected)

Book chapters (selected)

  • Herring, E. 'Historical Materialism' in A. Collins (ed.) Contemporary Security Studies (Oxford University Press 2015), 4th edn.

  • Herring, E. 'The Future of Iraq', in A. Acharya and H. Katsumata (eds), Beyond Iraq: The Future of World Order (World Scientific Publishing 2011), pp. 1-20.

  • Buzan, B. and E. Herring, 'Arms Races' in C.W. Hughes and Y.M. Lai (eds) Security Studies: A Reader (Routledge 2011).
  • Herring, E. 'Armed Groups and the Fragmentation and Globalisation of the Iraqi State' in K. Mulaj (ed.), Violent Non-State Actors and International Relations (Columbia University Press and C. Hurst & Co. 2010).

  • Herring, E. 'Neoliberalism Versus Peacebuilding in Iraq' in N. Cooper, M. Pugh and M. Turner (eds), Whose Peace? Critical Perspectives on the Political Economy of Peace Building (Palgrave Macmillan 2008), pp. 47-64. Paperback 2011.

  • Herring, E. 'Sanctions' in M. Bevir (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Governance (Sage 2006), 2, pp. 849-50.

  • Herring, E. 'Military Security' in A. Collins (ed.) Contemporary Security Studies (Oxford University Press 2006), pp. 129-145.

  • Herring, E. 'Sanctions' in C. van den Anker and R. Smith (eds) The Essentials of Human Rights (Hodder Arnold 2004), pp. 315-17.

  • Herring, E. 'Power, Propaganda and Indifference: An Explanation of the Maintenance of Economic Sanctions on Iraq Despite Their Human Cost', in W. Haddad, T. Ismael (eds.), Iraq: The Human Cost of History (Pluto 2003), pp. 34-55.

  • Herring, E. 'An Uneven Killing Field: The Manufacture of Consent for the Arms Embargo on Bosnia-Herzegovina' in M. Evans (ed.) Aspects of Statehood and Institutionalism in Contemporary Europe (Dartmouth 1997), pp. 159-82.

  • Herring, E. 'International Security and Democratisation in Eastern Europe' in G. Pridham, E. Herring and G. Sanford (eds.), Building Democracy?, pp. 87-118 (pp. 81-109 in 1997 edn).

  • Herring, E. 'The Collapse of the Soviet Union: The Implications for World Politics' in J. Baylis and N. J. Rengger (eds.) Dilemmas of World Politics (Clarendon 1992), pp. 354-83.

  • Herring, E. 'The Decline of Nuclear Diplomacy' in K. Booth (ed.) New Thinking About Strategy and Security (London: Harper Collins 1991), pp 90-109.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • International Development

View research connections

Postal address:
11 Priory Road
United Kingdom

Selected research outputs

  1. Published
  2. Published
  3. Published

    Neoliberalism versus Peacebuilding in Iraq

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  4. Published

    Critical terrorism studies: an activist scholar perspective

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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