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Joseph Haigh


I am a Teaching Fellow in US Politics and Security Studies based in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. In Autumn 2022, I completed an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. I hold a PhD in Politics and International Studies, an MA in International Security, and a BA in Politics and International Studies, all from the University of Warwick.


'We made sacrifices in the First World War', 'We won the Second World War'. Contemporary British political discourse abounds with such declarations, typically in order to claim a right to a particular view or status. And yet these claims are often made by those not born at the time of such events, and without any first-hand military experience of their own. This is to say that they are inherently vicarious.

Even as such claims have become increasingly common in British national life, their (in)authenticity has become a topic of political debate - even satire - in recent years.

My research explores the political psychology of living vicariously through military ancestors. I ask:

  • What motivates people to live vicariously through military ancestors and exploits?
  • What are the different forms that this behaviour can take?
  • And what is at stake in such claims?
  • In short, what is the politics of living through military ancestors?

Drawing together work in politics, philosophy, sociology, historiography, and psychology, my doctoral thesis explored the identity politics of British remembrance. It argued that individuals, corporate entities, sports teams, and political movements have increasingly emphasised ‘our’ genealogical connections to past wars to assuage militarised existential anxieties and establish claims to ‘vicarious militarised subjectivity’ that help give Britons a sense of belonging and, perhaps more provocatively, a sense of imperial entitlement in global affairs.

In 2021/2, I conducted an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, broadening my research focus to consider ways in which Britons live vicariously through contemporary militarism. It began mapping the broader manifestations of 'vicarious militarism' by undertaking new research into public attitudes towards 'lawfare' and allegations of war crimes directed at the British armed forces during the Afghanistan war.

My broader research interests include British defence and security politics and are located at the intersection of Constructivist/Poststructuralist International Relations, Critical Military Studies, Critical Security Studies, and Ontological Security Studies.


In 2023/4, I am the module co-convenor for PO207 Politics of the USA (30 CATS). I am also a seminar tutor PO379 United States Foreign Policy (30 CATS) and a lecturer and seminar tutor for PO135 Nine Ideas in International Security (Term 2 - 15 CATS).

Research Publications

Recent and Upcoming Conference Presentations

  • (2021) ‘’Poppy War’: Military-masculine hierarchies, ontological insecurity and vicarious identification during the 2016 FIFA Poppy controversy’, - presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association. 21st-23rd June, Online.
  • (2020) ‘Militarism and war preparedness in tension? Reflections on the British armed forces ‘recruitment crisis’ through the lens of vicarious militarism’, presented at the International Studies Association workshop on ‘War Preparedness’, 7 – 8 February, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • (2019) ‘Whose remembrance is it anyway? Poppies, securitized subjectivity and micropolitics’, presented at the 44th Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association. 12 – 14 June, Royal Society, Carleton House, London
  • (2017) ‘‘Every Man (Re)membered’: Exploring agency and subjectivity in the Royal British Legion’s commemorations of the First World War Centenary’, presented at the 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, 13 – 16 September, Barcelona, Spain, European International Studies Association/Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacionals
  • (2015) ‘‘Supporting our troops’: Ontological (In)security, British militarism and the case of Fusilier Lee Rigby’, presented at the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, 24th September, Sicily, Italy (European International Studies Association/University of Catania).

Scholarships and Awards

  • (2021) ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Warwick - awarded competitive 1-year Fellowship worth £91,711.
  • (2021) Winner of the Political Studies Association Shirin M. Rai Prize - awarded for best Ph.D. thesis in International Relations
  • (2020) IAS Early Career Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick - awarded competitive 10-month Fellowship worth approximately £6,370.
  • (2014) ESRC Studentship and Chancellor’s Scholarship, University of Warwick - awarded full scholarship for 3.5 years of doctoral study, worth approximately £60,000.
  • (2013) Ian Fleming Foundation Essay Prize, University of Warwick - awarded for the highest essay mark in the module ‘CIA, Covert Action and US Foreign Policy’.
  • (2012) Wyn Grant Prize, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick - awarded for the best overall performance in the degree of Politics with International Studies.
Joseph Haigh


Office: E1.25

Advice and Feedback Hours:

Monday: 16.30 - 17.30 (online)

Thursday: 16.30-17.30 (online)

Book time with Haigh, Joseph: Advice and Feedback Hours