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About Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw is a political sociologist interested in war, genocide and racism, who now works on political change in Britain. His website is here. He is research professor of international relations at the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals(IBEI), professorial fellow in international relations and human rights at the University of Roehampton, and emeritus professor the University of Sussex. Among his books are The New Western Way of War: Risk-Transfer War and its Crisis in Iraq (Polity, 2005) and What is Genocide? (2nd edition, Polity, 2015). 

Articles by Martin Shaw

This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.

MM

Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

Constitutional conventions: best practice

We need to talk about Devon

By examining the local politics of the nation's second-largest county, we can see just how tight a grip the Conservatives have on power.

38 Degrees and the 52 per cent: Against the politics of the lowest common denominator

The inability to reach a consensus is no reason to opt for neutrality on an issue as important as Brexit.

38 Degrees and the 52 per cent: ‘Neutrality on the EU means 'lexit' by Theresa May’s rules’

The campaigning organisation 38 Degrees has adopted a version of 'neutrality' that means kow-towing to a restrictive vision of Brexit. The first part of our debate over what 'neutrality' means in these fractious times.

Labour must fight for our European rights (neither Corbyn nor his opponents have got the response to the crisis right)

This is probably the first opportunity since Blair’s disastrous Iraq venture fractured Labour’s support for Labour to reconstruct the alliance of left and centre which Blairites reminisce about.

Why I’m not discussing genocide in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is not just a site of ‘conflict’, as the INOGS conference programme says. It is a site in which questions of ‘genocide’, the deliberate destruction of communities, are all too live.

BREXIT: the R is for Racism

B in Brexit stands for Boris and his overweening ambition. But R is for Racism, the method through which Vote Leave aims to achieve the political upset of the century.

What will happen after the referendum?

A quick examination of the Tory project whatever the results shows worrying prospects.

The making of an open and democratic Europe: reading Brexit through E.P. Thompson

There is no room for Britain’s turning away from Europe to a fantasy mid-Atlantic or neo-Commonwealth position of the kind floated, typically unseriously, by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

Three realities of the Isis conflict

The west must prioritise civilian wellbeing in any intervention. What might help?

Labour and the comfort zone

If Corbyn wins, he will have to be willing to accept some radical changes to the way that politics works.

How the SNP-Tory dynamics shifted the 2015 election

Fear of the SNP drove voters to the Tories - a fear that Labour's leadership candidates are failing to discuss.

Development resistance threatens election upset in Devon

In one seat in the South West, the bookies list the main challenger is an independent. What's going on?

Boycotting Israel: the situation has changed and I have changed my mind too

The latest Israeli assault on Gaza is for one scholar an occasion to rethink the fundamental arguments for and against a boycott of the country.

Russia-Israel: domestic politics and serious blowback

The Ukraine and Gaza crises alike demonstrate the risks of aggressive policy based on short-term calculations. Vladimir Putin and Binyamin Netanyahu's war-as-politics invites damaging long-term consequences.

Sochi = Syria: boycott the Olympics

The crimes of Bashar al-Assad's regime and its support by Vladimir Putin demand an answer, says Martin Shaw.

A very British Marxist - and his son

Britain's most vehement conservative newspaper, in the course of an assault on Ralph Miliband, father of the Labour Party leader, accused the Belgian-born academic of having "hated" the country he found refuge in and fought for. Martin Shaw offers both a personal and political take on the ensuing controversy. 

Syria and Egypt: genocidal violence, western response

Genocide is both taking on new forms in the era of democratic revolution and exposing the defective reactions of western states, says Martin Shaw.

Paths to change: peaceful vs violent

The diverse experiences of the Arab spring renew the question of whether non-violent movements are more effective than armed struggle in achieving the overthrow of authoritarian regimes, says Martin Shaw.

Israel and Hamas: momentum of war

The latest war over Gaza leaves unchanged the underlying roots of conflict, even as regional changes are narrowing the potential for a long-term settlement.

The United States and "atrocity prevention"

The formation of an official agency charged with helping Washington identify and address threats of atrocity around the world is notable. But the United States's own foreign-policy record raises serious questions over its likely impact, says Martin Shaw.

The Holocaust and genocide: loose talk, bad action

The dangers of genocide denial are widely recognised. But the politics of "genocide mobilisation" - and the legal and discursive infringements that often follow - can also be a barrier to historical understanding and justice, says Martin Shaw.

2012, the next upheaval

The coming year will see a fusion of the global political and economic trends that accelerated in 2011. The results could be ugly as well as hopeful, says Martin Shaw.

Welcome to Little Tory England

The British prime minister's breach with the European Union is part of a wider political process leading England towards a meaner, harder, narrower and unfairer future. But the resources to stop it happening are also there, says Martin Shaw.

Libya: the revolution-intervention dynamic

The success of Libya’s uprising is welcome - even if both the rebel movement and foreign support for it reflect the inevitable contradictions of politics. The challenge now includes holding account all perpetrators of atrocity, says Martin Shaw.

International justice, wild west vs ICC: a coming crisis

The killing of Osama bin Laden and arrest of Ratko Mladic highlight the precariousness of international order and international law as much as their advance, says Martin Shaw.

Libya: popular revolt, military intervention

The changing dynamics of the Libyan conflict highlight the contradictions of "humanitarian intervention" when pressed to serve the western way of war, says Martin Shaw.

The global democratic revolution: a new stage

The popular risings in the Arab world belong to a wider historical process of worldwide democratic advance. But the disastrous events of the post-9/11 decade have made it far slower and more conflictual than was needed, says Martin Shaw

Street politics, violence, and media

The student movement in Britain against the government’s tuition-fees and spending policies faces inescapable political questions over the character and limits of democratic protest, says Martin Shaw.

Iraq, war and WikiLeaks: the real story

The tranche of American military documents released by the WikiLeaks project contains a wealth of detail about the coalition's indifference to civilian life. But the materials also tell a deeper story of “how” war has killed in Iraq, says Martin Shaw.

The politics of genocide: Rwanda & DR Congo

A revisionist reading of the Rwanda genocide of 1994 endorsed by Noam Chomsky confirms the moral blindness of the denialist left, says Martin Shaw.

The Holocaust, genocide studies, and politics

A compelling argument among scholars of genocide reflects the gradual development of the field beyond its point of origin, the Nazi murder of Europe’s Jews. The questions include whether and how different episodes of mass killing should be seen in a common frame; how such a development changes understanding of the Holocaust; and how historical interpretation and modern political argument intertwine, not least over Israel and anti-semitism. Martin Shaw, both participant and observer in this debate, presents an overview of its core issues.

Nigeria and the politics of massacre

The brutal violence against people of a different ethnicity or religion seen in the central Nigerian state of Jos is the most common face of genocide worldwide, says Martin Shaw.

Britain and genocide

The official annual commemoration of a century of genocide and its victims should be accompanied by a responsible awareness of Britain’s own historical record, says Martin Shaw. (This article was first published on 27 January 2009)

Sri Lanka: power and accountability

The degrading aftermath of Sri Lanka’s civil war demands international action to ensure protection of its civilians from their overweening rulers, says Martin Shaw.
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