Prof Milja Kurki

BA University of Hull; MscEcon University of Wales, Aberystwyth; PhD University of Wales, Aberystwyth

Prof Milja Kurki


Contact Details


Milja Kurki joined the department in September 2006 from the University of Exeter. Her areas of interest are international relations theory, philosophy of science, democracy and democracy promotion, critical theory and more recently scientific cosmology, social-natural science nexus and posthumanism. Between 2008 and 2012 she acted as the Principal Investigator of a major research project 'Political Economies of Democratisation' funded by the European Research Council. She is a co-editor of the journal International Relations and an Institute Director of Research in the Institute of Geography, History, Politics and Psychology.



Milja Kurki's research is focused on theoretical and conceptual study of international politics but she is also interested in exploration of the policy implications of conceptual issues. Her PhD was focused on the analysis of the meaning of causality in IR scholarship. She then led a major ERC project on the conceptual foundations of democracy promotion practices between 2008 and 2012, a project which involved extensive policy engagement. Currently, she works in two areas: 1. interrogation of the 'knowledge practices' of development donors and global governance actors and the political implications of how they seek to 'know'; and 2. research at the intersection of natural and social sciences on cosmology and international relations.

Office Hours (Student Contact Times)

  • Monday 4.30-5.30
  • Friday 2.30-3.30


The Contested Ethics of Democracy PromotionKurki, M. 2018 The Oxford Handbook of International Political Theory.Oxford University Press
The Limits of Practice: Why Realism Can Complement IR’s Practice TurnKurki, M. & Joseph, J. 2017 In : International Theory.
Causality, Democracy Support, and the Cult of the Factish GodsKurki, M. 2017 In : Journal of International Relations and Development.20, 4, p. 760-78122 p.
Relating to relational worlds: Critical theory, relational thought and relational cosmologyKurki, M. 2017 (Accepted/In press) Routledge Handbook of Critical International Relations. Edkins, J. (ed.). Taylor & Francis
Editors’ introduction: Rethinking International Relations – againBooth, K. & Kurki, M. 2017 In : International Relations.31, 1, p. 68-703 p.
Grading States and Global Governance: A Discussion of Alexander Cooley and Jack Snyder Ranking the World: Grading States as a Tool of Global GovernanceKurki, M. 2017 In : Perspectives on Politics.15, 1, p. 163-1642 p.
Cosmetic agreements and the cracks beneath: ideological convergences and divergences in US and EU's democracy promotion in civil societyBridoux, J-F. & Kurki, M. 2016 Comparative Perspectives on EU Democracy Promotion. Orbie, J., Wetzel, A. & Bossuyt, F. (eds.). Taylor & Francis
International Relations Theories: Discipline and DiversityDunne, T. J. (ed.), Smith, S. (ed.) & Kurki, M. (ed.) 2016 4th edition ed.Oxford University Press. 392 p.
Stretching Situated Knowledge: From Standpoint Epistemology to Cosmology and Back AgainKurki, M. 2015 In : Millennium: Journal of International Studies.43, 3, p. 779797 p.
Political Economy Perspective: Fuzzy Liberalism and EU Democracy Promotion: Why Concepts MatterKurki, M. 2015 The Substance of EU Democracy Promotion: Concepts and Cases. Wetzel, A. & Orbie, J. (eds.). Basingstoke: Springer Nature, p. 35-4612 p. (Governance and Limited Statehood)
Cosmetic agreements and the cracks beneath: Ideological convergences and divergences in US and EU democracy promotion in civil societyBridoux, J. & Kurki, M. 2015 In : Cambridge Review of International Affairs.28, 1, p. 55-7420 p.
Politico-Economic Models of Democracy in Democracy PromotionKurki, M. 2014 In : International Studies Perspectives.15, 2, p. 121-141
Democracy Promotion: A Critical IntroductionBridoux, J. & Kurki, M. 2014 Abingdon: Taylor & Francis. 168 p. (Intervention)
Democracy promotion as a practice of liberal world orderHobson, C. & Kurki, M. 2013 Liberal World Orders. Dunne, T. & Flockhart, T. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, (Proceedings of the British Academy ; no. 190)
Introductory notesKurki, M. 2013 In : International Relations.27, 2, p. 226-2272 p.
Democracy and world order: reflections on critical scholarship todayKurki, M. 2013 In : International Relations.27, 2, p. 253-2575 p.
International Relations TheoriesDunne, T. J., Kurki, M., Smith, S., Dunne, T. J. (ed.), Kurki, M. (ed.) & Smith, S. (ed.) 2013 3 ed.Oxford University Press. 400 p.
International Relations and Social ScienceKurki, M. & Wight, C. 2013 International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity. Dunne, T., Kurki, M. & Smith, S. (eds.). 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 14-3522 p.
Locating the normative within economic science: towards the analysis of hidden discourses of democracy in international politicsKurki, M. 2013 In : Journal of International Relations and Development.16, 1, p. 55-81
Liberal democracy: its multiple meanings in United States democracy promotionBridoux, J. & Kurki, M. 2013 Democratic Futures: Re-Visioning Democracy Promotion. Kurki, M. (ed.). Abingdon: Taylor & Francis, p. 121-14525 p. (Interventions)
Democratic Futures: Re-Visioning Democracy PromotionKurki, M. 2012 Taylor & Francis. 300 p. (Interventions)
Towards the politics of causal explanation: a reply to the critics of causal inquiriesKurki, M. & Suganami, H. 2012 In : International Theory.4, 3, p. 400-42930 p.
The Limitations of the Critical Edge: Reflections on Critical and Philosophical IR Scholarship TodayKurki, M. 2012 In : Millennium: Journal of International Studies.40, 1, p. 129-14618 p.
Rethinking Democracy SupportHobson, C. E., Kurki, M. & Bridoux, J. 2012 United Nations University Press
How the EU can adopt a new type of democracy supportKurki, M. 2012 Madrid: Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, 24 p.
Democracy promotion and crisis of democracy in the WestKurki, M. 2012
Governmentality and EU Democracy Promotion: The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the Construction of Democratic Civil SocietiesKurki, M. 2011 In : International Political Sociology.5, 4, p. 349-36618 p.
Human rights and democracy promotion: reflections on the contestation in, and the politico-economic dynamics of, rights promotionKurki, M. 2011 In : Third World Quarterly.32, 9, p. 1573-158715 p.
Conceptual Politics of Democracy PromotionKurki, M., Hobson, C., Whitehead, L., Jahn, B., Ish-Shalom, P., Patomaki, H., Youngs, R., Wolff, J., Crawford, C., Abdulai, A-G., Bunce, V., Wolchik, S., Sadiki, L., Charlesworth, H., Smith, T., Hobson, C. (ed.) & Kurki, M. (ed.) 2011 Taylor & Francis. (Democratization Studies)
Introduction: Conceptual Politics of Democracy PromotionHobson, C. & Kurki, M. 2011 The Conceptual Politics of Democracy Promotion.Taylor & Francis
Conclusion: Reflections on a New Approach in a New Era of Democracy PromotionHobson, C. & Kurki, M. 2011 The Conceptual Politics of Democracy Promotion. Hobson, C. & Kurki, M. (eds.). Taylor & Francis
Democracy through technocracy? Reflections on technocratic assumptions in EU democracy promotion discourseKurki, M. 2011 In : Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.5, 2, p. 211-23424 p.
Democracy and Conceptual Contestability: Reconsidering Conceptions of Democracy in Democracy PromotionKurki, M. 2010 In : International Studies Review.12, 3, p. 362-38625 p.
Critical realism and analysis of democratisation: does philosophy of science matterKurki, M. H. 2010 Scientific Realism and International Relations. Joseph, J. & Wight, C. (eds.). p. 129-14618 p.
Hidden in plain sight: Constructivist treatment of social context and its limitationsKurki, M. H. & Sicnlair, A. 2010 In : International Politics.47, 1, p. 1-2525 p.
Kansainvaliset suhteet, maailmankuvat ja tieteenalakohtaiset kontekstit: ajatuksia teorianvalinnoistaKurki, M. 2010 In : Kosmopolis.40, 2, p. 55-6511 p.
Roy BhaskarKurki, M. 2009 Critical Theorists and International Relations. Edkins, J. & Vaughan-Williams, N. (eds.). Taylor & Francis, p. 89-10113 p. (Interventions)
Karl MarxKurki, M. 2009 Critical Theorists and International Relations. Edkins, J. & Vaughan-Williams, N. (eds.). 1 ed.Taylor & Francis, p. 246-2505 p.
The Politics of the Philosophy of ScienceKurki, M. 2009 In : International Theory.1, 3, p. 440-45415 p.
Revitalising Causality: Realism about Causality in Philosophy and Social Science. Edited by Ruth GroffKurki, M. 2009 In : Journal of Critical Realism.8, 3, p. 367-3693 p.
Democracy and Democracy Support: a New EraKurki, M. & Hobson, C. 2009
Introduction to the annual convention on "Bridging Multiple Divides"Kurki, M. & Stavrianakis, A. 2009 In : International Relations.23, 1, p. 117-1182 p.
Causation in International Relations: Reclaiming Causal AnalysisKurki, M. H. 2008 1 ed.Cambridge University Press. 362 p. (Cambridge Studies in International Relations)
Critical realism and causal analysis in international relationsKurki, M. 2007 In : Millennium: Journal of International Studies.35, p. 361-37818 p.
Causes of a Divided Discipline: Rethinking the Concept of Cause in International Relations theoryKurki, M. 2006 In : Review of International Studies.32, 2, p. 189-21628 p.
Steve Fuller, Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 160 pp., $24.50, ISBN 0 231 13428 2 (boards).Kurki, M. 2005 In : History of Political Thought.26, 3, p. 556-5572 p.