Lily Harkes

Worcester College
MPhil Comparative Government

I am currently researching the impact of political elite strategic narratives on the health/quality of liberal democracy as part of my MPhil in Comparative Government at DPIR. Prior to studying at Oxford, I received my bachelors in Political Science with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies and International and Global Studies at Elon University in North Carolina, USA.


  • Undergraduate Research Questions:

    • What system and identity narratives do former US President DonaldTrump and Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán promote about liberal democracy and their country’s role in legitimizing or undermining its credibility?

    • In what ways can studying the influence of Trump and Orban’s anti-migrant, anti-democratic strategic narratives explain the initiation or perpetuation of democratic backsliding in the United States and Hungary?


  • Four Main Research Areas

    • trends in democratic backsliding (conceptualizing and exploring explanatory factors)

    • the use of strategic narrative paradigm to determine the extent to which actors are shaped by their cultural and social environment and equally how actors can shape political order through narrative projection

    • identity based narratives, concepts of populism and nationalism

    • strategies for identifying, preventing, and mitigating factors that cause democratic deterioration and illiberal practice-particularly concerning human rights and freedoms