Dr Stefan Szwed, CIS Research Associate
Please note that the position of research associate implies no employee relationship with the Centre for International Studies or the Department of Politics and International Relations. The position is also distinct from that of Academic Visitor, further details of which can be found here.
Stefan Szwed is an academic researcher in international relations and European politics, as well as a policy practitioner in the area of democracy support. He is currently a Mairie de Paris Visiting Fellow at the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI) at Sciences Po in Paris as well as a Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies (CIS), Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) at the University of Oxford. His academic research focuses on European integration, European foreign and security policies, Polish-German relations, German power in Europe and the EU’s relations with its neighbours (European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership). He is interested in theoretical approaches to the study of state power, in particular constructivist work on power in international relations. In his current work, he develops a typology of structural (power) asymmetries in three dimensions – material, spatial and temporal – and examines their role in shaping patters of conflict and cooperation in the area of high politics among members of Euro-Atlantic institutions.
His future research agenda is centred on two longer-term projects that built on his interest in power asymmetries in Europe and his practical experience in the field of democratic transitions. The first explores the ways in which the shifting nature of the post-crisis European project affects the EU’s and its members’ relations with the eastern and southern neighbours. The second draws on Stefan’s experience in election observation and assistance, and focuses on the rise of ‘performative’ (‘managed’, ‘illiberal’ or ‘hybrid regime’) democracies and the types of challenges this poses to the existing structure of international norms and principles, especially as concerns democratic elections.
For over fifteen years, Stefan has served as an elections consultant with various international organizations and (I)NGOs – including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Democracy Reporting International (DRI). He observed or assisted in the organization of over thirty different elections, predominantly in the Balkans and the post-Soviet space (Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia), but also farther afield in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
In the past, Stefan held numerous fellowships and grants, including from the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Jan Karski Foundation and the Chevening Scholarship. He obtained his doctorate (DPhil) in International Relations and an MPhil in European Politics and Society from the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College) and a BA from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
His upcoming publications include a monograph (Asymmetry Matters: Poland, Germany and state power in a new Europe) accepted by Palgrave-Macmillan and an article (“Electing to Constitute: International Standards and Directly Elected Constituent Assemblies”) currently under peer-review with a leading law journal.