Dr Kevork Oskanian
Lecturer (E&S) in Comparative Politics
I obtained my PhD at the London School of Economics’ Department of International Relations, and have previously taught at the LSE, and the Universities of Westminster and Birmingham. My latest monograph - ‘Russian Exceptionalism between East and West: The Ambiguous Empire’ (Palgrave) - provides a novel long-term approach to the role of Russia’s imperial legacies in its interactions with the former Soviet space. My current research interests include the International Relations of Eurasia, and Bourdieusian and post-liberal approaches to International Order.
Research group links
I would describe myself as a theoretically and methodologically eclectic scholar, conversant in various conceptual approaches to have emerged in the discipline of International Relations over the past few decades.
Accordingly, my publications record has come to incorporate several strands of scholarship that straddle the boundary between the material and the ideational, and combine explanation, understanding, and critique through a wide range of methodologies. I have published monographs and articles on my chief area of empirical interest - the former Soviet Union - from several theoretically cross-cutting perspectives, including the Copenhagen School, Neo-Classical and Classical Realism, and Postcolonial Theory.
My latest monograph draws on a wide range of disciplines apart from IR – history, sociology of science and area/cultural studies – and theoretical work by Said, Bhabha, Holsti and Zaraköl to provide a long-term view of what I term Russia’s ‘Hybrid Exceptionalism’. It describes the great power’s tendency to define itself within a liminal position between the Western core of International Society and the ‘Orient’, while also imposing a series of ‘civilising missions’ onto its perceived subalterns. The book concentrates in particular on how the Putin regime has instrumentalised historical narratives towards a fundamentally hierarchical worldview, something very relevant to ongoing events in Ukraine and Russia’s Eurasian environs.
My current research aims to more systematically engage with previous material/ideational, structural/agential themes through a novel – holistic and trans-historical – Bourdieusian sociological perspective. Building on a very early volume on the crisis of the Liberal International Order (LIO) which I had co-edited in 2013, and a series of preceding articles on the role of liberal ideology in shaping a number of post-Cold War practices and policies, it aims to conceptualise the LIO as but one of a series of rising, and falling early modern, modern and post-modern 'Anarchic Meta-Fields', through an approach I refer to as 'Field-Theoretic Realism'.
I am currently working on the framework's foundational theoretical elements, in preparation of a more comprehensive book project at some time in the near future.
I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and grew up in Antwerp, Belgium in a multicultural (Armenian, Greek, German) family. I moved to the UK in 2005 to study International Relations, first at Royal Holloway, University of London, and subsequently at the London School of Economics, where I obtained by PhD under the supervision of Barry Buzan and Roy Allison. I have previously taught at the LSE, and the Universities of Westminster and Birmingham.