Tatevik Mnatsakanyan

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College: College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Politics
Department: Politics, College of Social Sciences and International Studies

Having recently completed my PhD in Politics (International Relations) at the University of Exeter with success, and having four years' university teaching experience,  I am now seeking to advance my academic career.
I possess developed skills in designing and completing theoretically innovative and empirically sophisticated research projects. My PhD research titled ‘Contesting Security, and the Binding Effect in the US and the UK Discourse and Policy of “War on Terror”’ is highly regarded by peers, and is the basis of my current vibrant work towards publications. It concerns itself with understanding the "longer life" of security discourses. Theoretically, it is located at the intersections of linguistic sociology, critical realism, and critical constructivism. Drawing on Bakhtinian Dialogism, I developed a theoretical framework for treating the transformation of foreign policy/security discourses over time and their relationally produced policy outcomes, in this case constraints and protracted policy change, or what I call “binding”. It empirically applies the latter to explore the contestations around, and the longer-term policy consequences of, the discourses on “war on terror” in the US and the UK (2001-2012). Through a systematic empirical analysis, I demonstrate, among other mechanisms, how “war on terror” critique, paradoxically, has contributed to “a binding effect”, constraining the US and the UK governments and slowing down change. The developed framework aims to transcend the epistemological and methodological limitations of constructivist and post-structuralist International Relations, and in so doing, it engages in a critique of the existing theories and methods of discourse-analytical approaches to the study of foreign policy and security.

My developing/future research agenda revolves around identity and security; international discursive diffusion; de-securitisations/counter-securitisations and anti-war movements; and re-evaluation of the Copenhagen School and of discursive approaches to security through philosophically-realist discourse philosophy. Substantively, I am interested in continuity and change in the identity-security nexus in the US and the UK; and for future research, in competing Russian security representations, contesting "imaginings" of national and global "futures", and how these encounter Western security discourses.

I am passionate about teaching and research in the academia, where I see my future career. I have developed skills in teaching and marking at undergraduate level, and some experience teaching at graduate level. In the past years, I have taught seminars for modules such as Globalisation of World Politics; Contemporary Theories of World Politics; and Security Studies. I also have alternative teaching experience, having facilitated an inquiry group for the Human Security vs. Power Politics Dilemma of the Grand Challenges project at Exeter.

My previous experience involves work for diplomatic bodies and intergovernmental organisations, including the World Bank, which has given me the opportunity to gain an "insider's view", as well as develop a number of transferable skills.