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Miriam Grinberg


Dissertation title

The US-Japan alliance and the relocation of Futenma: Sites of discursive exchange in the reproduction of security alliances


Using the US-Japan alliance as its institutional setting and the political conflict over the relocation of Marines Air Base Futenma from Ginowan City to Nago, Okinawa as its case study, this research seeks to examine how alliances are discursively reproduced by analysing - through interviews, public speeches, and government publications - how they are publicly framed and deliberated not only by elite actors (e.g. those in the US and Japanese governments) who seek to maintain the US-Japan alliance in its current form, but also by those within Okinawan local government and civil society who contest the alliance’s sustainability. This research sits in contrast to the prevailing arguments in the existing literature on alliance persistence, which tend to have a top-down focus and privilege the cooperative discourses of elite actors with direct access to the inner-workings of the alliance over the lived experience of ‘everyday’ actors excluded from the central policymaking process. Furthermore, these arguments tend to ignore the possibility of internal divisions amongst these 'elite' and 'everyday' actors, representing any debates within an alliance as taking place between the central governments of the member states rather than exploring the many divergences of opinion that exist within their central political parties, military bureaucracies, civil societies, and other groups concerned. By identifying a wide variety in the sites of discourse production both inside and outside of this institutionalised alliance, this research helps to bridge the disconnect between top-down and bottom-up analyses of alliance persistence, illustrate the processes by which discourses from seemingly irreconcilable sources may actually interact, influence, and shape each other in the realm of security policymaking, and broaden the conversation from one focused on 'persistence' to include an understanding of how an alliance is actively reproduced through discourse.

Primary supervisor: Prof Christopher Hughes | Second supervisor: Prof Nick Vaughan-Williams

Current and previous positions

  • Website and Communications Assistant for PAIS, Philosophy & Sociology (October 2014 - June 2016)
  • Web Technologist for the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (April - December 2015)
  • Co-Coordinator, East Asia Study Group (October 2013 - October 2015)
  • East Asia Research Fellow under the supervision of Prof Christopher Hughes (October 2012 - September 2015)
  • Student Marketing & Recruitment Assistant for PAIS (January 2012 - September 2014)
  • Visiting PhD Scholar, School of International Service, American University (July - September 2014)
  • Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Law and Letters, University of the Ryukyus (March - May 2014)
  • JSPS Research Fellow, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, University of Waseda (Jan. - May 2014)


  • 2012-16: PhD Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick (UK)
  • 2011-12: MA International Politics and East Asia, University of Warwick (UK), Distinction
  • 2007-11: BA Political Science, Gettysburg College (USA), GPA 3.9

Scholarships and awards

  • 2012-15 East Asia Research Fellowship, University of Warwick
  • 2013-14 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (Short Term)
  • 2013-14 Toshiba International Foundation Scholarship
  • 2011-12 PAIS One-Year Master's Scholarship, University of Warwick
  • 2011-12 Santander Scholarship, University of Warwick

Publications and presentations

  • 2015. 'An alliance "stronger than one airstrip": the relocation of Futenma in US-Japan strategic discourse'. Presentation at PAIS One-Day Research Conference 2015, 25 June, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.
  • 2013. 'Two days in Okinawa: reflections on war memory and identity in contemporary Japan'. KnowledgeCentre, 27 September.
  • 2013. 'The US-Japan alliance and the relocation of Futenma: Sites of discursive exchange in the reproduction of security alliances'. Paper presented at Traditional Wisdom and Modern Knowledge for the Earth’s Future: Regional Conference of the International Geographical Union, 4-9 August, Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan.
  • 2013. Matsuoka, M. (author) and Grinberg, M. (contributing author). 'Repositioning Japan on the global stage: The nature of the Shinzo Abe administration'. KnowledgeCentre, 18 July.
  • 2011. ‘Comparing the Effectiveness of Anti-Base Movements in Japan and South Korea’. Paper presented at Celebration, A Colloquium on Undergraduate Research, Creative Activity, and Community Engagement, 5 May, Gettysburg, PA, USA. (Watch a video presentation of the paper on YouTube (Video clip))
  • 2010. ‘Examining Bilateral Relationships: Comparing US-UK and US-Japan Defence Relations since 1945’. Paper presented at Celebration, A Colloquium on Undergraduate Research, Creative Activity, and Community Engagement, 1 May, Gettysburg, PA, USA.
  • 2010. 'The Political Economy of Oil: Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan', Pi Sigma Alpha Journal, 3, pp. 43-52.

PhD, Politics and International Studies
M dot B dot Grinberg at warwick dot ac dot uk



Kakazu Heights Observatory, Ginowan, Okinawa

I completed fieldwork in Japan and the United States from January to September 2014. You can read a report I wrote for JSPS on my time in Japan at the link below:

Report on Fellowship Activities


Graffiti near Kadena Air Base, Okinawa

I attended a regional conference of the International Geographical Union from 4-9 August 2013 in Kyoto, Japan. Post-conference, I participated in a two-day fieldtrip to Okinawa during which I visited many current and former US military base sites and their surrounding areas.

See photos from this trip