Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science

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PD Dr. Alexander Spencer

Research, teaching


Department of Political Science
Chair of Global Governance and Public Policy
Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich

Room: H 102
Phone: 089-2180-9053
Fax: 089-2180-9017

Office hours:
In the winter term 2016/17 PD Dr. Spencer represents the Chair for International Relations at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg.

Further Information

Current Project: Romantic Narratives in International Politics: Rebels, Pirates and Heroes

Everyone loves stories. We tell stories all the time, they are part of how we make sense of the world around us. And in particular we like exciting stories about heroes which we can identify with, be they stories about real world rebels like Che Guevara or fictional characters like the pirate Jack Sparrow out of Pirates of the Caribbean. We are fascinated by the romantic hero and stories about him or her. These stories are essential not only on the individual social level, but greatly influential on the international political level as well. This book focuses on stories or rather narratives about increasingly important private transnational actors including rebel movements, pirates and private military companies. This book has two aims: Firstly, it wants to show that narratives and in particular romantic narratives matter for international politics. By focusing on private transnational actors the book will illustrate in the case of rebels and pirates that the romantic image embedded in cultural narratives influence our understanding of modern rebels in Libya or piracy in places like Somalia and thereby frame what we believe rebels or pirates to be like and how we can react to them. In contrast, in the case of PMCs the absence of such romantic narratives makes it difficult for such actors to successfully narrate themselves as heroes to the public. Secondly, the book wants to introduce the study of story or rather narrative into International Relations by incorporating insights from Literary Studies in general and Narratology in particular and showing what narrative analysis has to offer for the analysis of international phenomena and transnational private actors such as rebel, pirates and private military companies (PMCs). So far the concept of a “narrative” has been used extensively in IR. However, this has happened on a very superficial level by using the term as synonym for discourse, rhetoric or simply for everything said, written, viewed or heard. There has been few attempts to go to the roots of narratives and see what the experts in the field of Literary Studies and Narratology have to say and what these insights might bring into IR. In particular the book will outline a method of narrative analysis useful for IR which concentrates on three fundamental elements of a narrative: setting, characterization and emplotment. Overall the book supports the constructivist claim in IR that cultural phenomena, and in particular cultural narratives, rather than simply reflecting international politics, influence how international politics is understood and made.



  • 1998-2002 B.A. (Hons) (Politics and Spanish) at the University of Sussex
  • 2000-2001 Erasmus-Year (Politics and Contemporary History) at the University of Granada
  • 2004-2005 M.Sc. (International Relations) at the University of Bristol
  • 2005-2010 Dr. phil at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich
  • 2005-2007 Teaching Fellow at the Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, LMU Munich
  • 2007 Teaching Fellow at the Free University Berlin
  • 2007-2008 Lecturer at the Chair of Internatioanl Politics, Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, LMU Munich
  • 2008-2009 Research and Teaching Associate at the Chair of Political Science, Technical University Munich.
  • 2009-2010 Research and Teaching Associate at the Chair of Global Governance, Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, LMU Munich
  • Since 2010 Assistant Professor (Akademischer Rat a.Z.) at the Chair of Global Governance, Geschwister-Scholl-Institute for Political Science, LMU Munich