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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Daniel Kenealy

Daniel Kenealy
Dr Daniel Kenealy
2.01 21 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0) 131 650 4080
Research Interests
UK politics, Constitutional politics, Devolution, Intergovernmental relations, UK foreign policy, UK national security policy, Brexit, Classical realism, Interpretive public administration


Between 1 January and 31 July 2019 please email me to schedule an appointment. I will usually be able to meet within a few days.


I completed a PhD in Politics & International Relations at the University of Edinburgh in 2012. My research applied classical realism to the political history of the European Union. I joined the School, initially as a Teaching Fellow in Politics & International Relations and moved to the Social Policy subject area in April 2015. I have served as Deputy Director of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (2012-2013), Deputy Director of the Academy of Government (2013-2014), Director of the Master of Public Policy (2013-2015), Adviser to the Senior Vice Principal (2016-2017), and am currently serving as the School's Quality Assurance Director (to 31 July 2019).


My research is both historical and contemporary, involving archival work in Edinburgh and London, elite interviews, and the analysis of government documents. Under the umbrella of a broad interest in UK politics my research falls, topically, into two principal areas.


First, constitutional politics. Since 2013 I have researched and published on various aspects of the UK's constitutional politics including: intergovernmental relations, Scotland's external relations and its interaction with UK foreign policy, devolution to city-regions in England, and Scotland's relationship with the EU. In 2017, with colleagues at Edinburgh, I authored the book Publics, Elites and Constitutional Change in the UK. I am currently working on a book reflecting on 20-years of constitutional change since 1999, possible future developments beyond Brexit and making the case for a radical rethinking of territory, power and governance in the UK.

Second, foreign policy. Using classical realism as a tool of critique, I am exploring the conceptual development of "Global Britain" in the context of Brexit and the need to reinterpret the UK's place in, and relationships across, the world. I am also working on a paper exploring the foreign policy legacy of Margaret Thatcher based on archival research. Cross-cutting both areas of research is an interest in the machinery and structures of government, processes of decision-making, executive-legislative relations, and relationships between different levels of government. 

I have published in journals including West European Politics, Regional and Federal Studies, Journal of European Integration, Millenium, European Security, European Law Journal, British Politics and Diplomacy and Statecraft. 

I have presented my research at the University of Montreal, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the European Policy Centre in Brussels, and Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin. I have served as expert adviser to the Scottish Parliament's European and External Relations Committee and have presented oral evidence to that committee on several occasions as well as to the House of Commons' Scottish Affairs Committee.

Current teaching and administration

  • Convener, 'Social Policy MA Dissertation' (Undergraduate)
  • Convener, 'Government, Policy & Society MA Dissertation' (Undergraduate)
  • Personal tutor, 4th year Social Policy students
  • School Quality Assurance Director

Topics interested in supervising

I would be keen to supervise students interested in: (1) UK and Scottish government, particularly issues concerning machinery of government, structures, and decision-making processes; (2) UK constitutional politics, particularly intergovernmental relations and the external policies of the UK's devolved nations; (3) UK foreign policy, contemporary and historical, and specifically on decision-making processes, the role of parliament, and the impact of Brexit; and (4) working at the intersection of public policy/administration and political history.

If you are interested in being supervised by Daniel Kenealy, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Politics; PhD in Social Policy; PhD in International Development