• Room 03.002 - 25 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: - Tourism, Militarism and Everyday Life - Migration, Borders and Security - Surveillance, Visuality and Technology - New Materialism, STS and post-humanism in global politics - Media, technology and global politics - Creative practice accounts of global politics (esp. film and visual art)

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Personal profile

Research Interests

General Research Interests:

My research engages with a number of contemporary debates in International Relations, International Political Sociology and beyond, most notably around issues of difference, mobility, security, travel, visuality, governmentality, biopolitics, materiality, technology, practice and power. My earlier work explores the relevance of cultural and visual artifacts (e.g. contemporary travel writing, museum exhibits, photographs, art, war films) to world politics, and argues that the cultural realm tells as much about International Relations as the official documents usually privileged in this context. More recently, my research has been exploring the following themes:

  • Tourism, Militarism, Everyday Life: My new book Holidays in the Danger Zone: Entanglements of War and Tourism (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) offers a genealogy of how the worlds of leisure intersect with the worlds of violence in unexpected ways, and how global politics needs to acknowledge the constitutive circuits of leisure that support prevailing geopolitical imaginaries. I am particularly interested in the relationship between leisure, recreation and resilience in modern military culture and beyond, and have recently published work examining the relationship between resilience and leisure in the US Army. More broadly, I have explored the securitization of tourist sites in the aftermath of 9/11, and how sites of leisure are securitized and militarized in unexpected ways (e.g. the London Olympics) 
  • Borders, Technology, Security: I am involved in a number of collaborative projects exploring the role of security technologies at border sites. Of particular interest for me is how failure operates through technology, and how different actors (e.g. border guards, scientists and engineers, regular and irregular migrants, security agents) have competing understandings of failure and its consequences. I have published jointly-authored work tracing the development of specific border technologies for detecting CBRNE materials, and I am currently working on issues of automation, circulation and mobility. Given the recent increase in migration across the EU, I am currently working on a larger project connecting the mobilities of tourism, terrorism and migration. 
  • War, Representation, Surveillance: Drawing from my earlier work on visuality and representation, I am interested in how war is represented across visual and cultural realms (e.g. in museums, photography, art, films). My recent work has examined the encounters that tourists have in sites of war, war exhibitions and war museums, and I am currently involved in museum efforts to think critically and creatively about how to represent the Troubles in Northern Ireland. More recently, I have become interested in how visualities of war operate at the more-than-representational register, for example, how visual technologies are productive of war and conflict (e.g. drones, surveillance, governmentality). 


Undergraduate and Masters Teaching:

My general teaching areas are International Relations, Global Politics, Visual Culture, Science and Technology Studies, Cultural Studies, Media Studies and Contemporary Social and Political Theory. I contribute to International Relations teaching at all levels in the School and I run my own third year module entitled War, Visual Culture and Surveillance which looks at representations of war (e.g. photography, film, museums, media), new modes of surveillance (e.g. drones) and the role of visual technologies in the execution of war. I am the pathway convener for the taught MA in International Relations, and I contribute to School modules on Contemporary Security as well as cross-Faculty MA teaching on Visual Politics. I am also the new pathway convener for the taught MA in Global Security and Borders which starts September 2016.


Areas of PhD Supervision:
I am happy to supervise PhD students in the general areas of International Relations, Critical Security Studies, Visual Culture, Mobility, Materiality, Poststructuralism, Critical War Studies, Urban Politics and Cultural Studies. More specifically, I can supervise projects exploring the relationship between International Relations and the Cultural and Visual realms, either those focusing on the representational register (e.g. those analysing film, travel writing, the media, contemporary literature, museums, photography, art and performance) or those focusing on practice and everyday life (e.g. the Olympics, urban security, travel and tourism). Some of the current projects I am supervising include:

  • The Practice-Network of EU Border Technologies
  • Re-imagining the Troubles Exhibit at the Ulster Museum
  • Emotion, Affect and Fear in post 9/11 Everyday Spaces
  • Memory, Ethics and the Libyan Intervention
  • Female Suicide Bombers: Gender, Ethnicity and mass media

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Tourism Social Sciences
travel Social Sciences
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museum Social Sciences
tourist Social Sciences
voyeurism Social Sciences
political sociology Social Sciences
patriotism Social Sciences

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Projects 2012 2016

Research Output 2003 2019

An Exercise in Question and Conversation: Does Creativity Need to be Evaluated?

Lisle, D. & Choi, S., Jan 2019, Critical Methods for the Study of World Politics: Creativity and Transformation. London: Routledge, 20 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Making Safe: the dirty history of a bomb disposal robot

Lisle, D., 18 Sep 2019, (Accepted) In : Security Dialogue. 34 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
technical innovation
53 Downloads (Pure)

The many lives of border automation: Turbulence, co-ordination and care

Lisle, D. & Bourne, M., 05 Sep 2019, In : Social Studies of Science. 49, 5, p. 682-706 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
6 Citations (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)

Failing worse? Science, security and the birth of a border technology

Lisle, D., Dec 2018, In : European Journal of International Relations. 24, 4, p. 887-910 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
research and development
engineering science
3 Citations (Scopus)
86 Downloads (Pure)

Lost in the Aftermath

Lisle, D. & Johnson, H., 30 Apr 2018, In : Security Dialogue. p. 1-20

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access


IPS Best Book Award

Debbie Lisle (Recipient), 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

political sociology

Winner of the British International Studies Association (BISA) Best PhD thesis

Debbie Lisle (Recipient), 01 Jan 2000

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 1999 2018

International Studies Association Annual Convention

Debbie Lisle (Participant)
04 Apr 201807 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

ISA Selected Workshop: 'Becoming War'

Debbie Lisle (Participant)
03 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Center for Global Studies, Seminar Series

Debbie Lisle (Invited speaker)
17 Feb 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

The Politics of Time in International Relations

Debbie Lisle (Participant)
21 Oct 201722 Oct 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Crisis in Slow Motion: The Stubborn Habits of Migration

Debbie Lisle (Advisor)
04 Jul 2017

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media

Thinking Allowed, Radio 4

Debbie Lisle


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Research

The Aftermath of Migration on Kos

Debbie Lisle


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities


Social & Technical Forces Constituting the Silent Valley Reservoir Project: Mourne Mountains to Belfast (1893-1932)

Author: Reinsborough, M., Sep 2007

Supervisor: Bowler, P. (Supervisor) & Lisle, D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy