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ePortfolio of Sean McDaniel


I am a third-year PhD student in the Department of Politics and International Studies.

My research focuses on the political economy of social democracy in the post-global financial crisis (GFC) environment. The working title of my thesis is: "Social democracy in the age of austerity: the cases of the UK Labour Party and France’s Parti Socialiste".

My PhD work draws upon a comparative analysis of the UK Labour Party and France's Parti Socialiste since 2010.
I utilise these cases to explore the puzzle of why social democracy has not emerged as a clear ‘alternative’ in Europe since the crisis. Given the prevalence of austerity policies since 2010, the lack of a coherent alternative provided by social democratic parties can be seen as perplexing. Indeed, not only have social democratic parties failed to deliver this alternative, but the post-crisis environment has posed an extremely difficult electoral terrain for them.

My thesis argues that we can understand this ‘opportunity missed’ for social democracy through its analysis of the two cases of the UK and France. In particular, I utilise a constructivist framework focused on the role of political and economic ideas and discourse in shaping the politics of social democracy post-crisis.

More widely, my research contributes to debates around the nature of austerity in post-GFC Europe, the changing political economic landscapes of the UK and France since 2008, and more recently, the impact of Brexit within France and Paris’ financial centre.

As well as my academic work, I have experience of producing impact-focused research. I have, for example, published policy papers for both SPERI, the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, and CentreForum, a Westminster-based think tank.

My PhD supervisors are Professor Ben Clift and Dr Chris Rogers.


  • MA, Distinction in Politics, University of Sheffield, 2011-2012.
  • BA, First Class Honours in History, University of Sheffield, 2008-2011.

Published Journal Articles

  • (2017) ‘French Socialism in crisis: The undoing of Hollande’s ‘anti-austerity’ programme’, Renewal 25 (1), 39-52.
  • (2014) ‘Post-crisis social democratic policy capacity in France and the United Kingdom: A lesson from the globalisation and social democracy debate’, French Politics 12 (4), 283–309.

Selected other publications

  • (2017) ‘Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin: Post-Brexit Rivals to the City of London?’, SPERI Global Political Economy Brief No. 6, with Scott Lavery, Davide Schmid, Adam Barber.
  • (2017) ‘EU Business Views on Brexit: Politics, Trade and Article 50’, SPERI Global Political Economy Brief No. 7, with Scott Lavery, Davide Schmid, Adam Barber.
  • (2017) ‘The unravelling of Hollande’s ‘anti-austerity’ programme and the crisis of French socialism’, Speri.comment, 26 January 2017 [available here].
  • (2016) ‘Review of Bell, D.S. and Criddle, B. (2014) Exceptional Socialists: The Case of the French Socialist Party’, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan’, Capital & Class 40 (1) 204-206.

Other impact-focussed publications

  • (2013) ‘Smarter accountability in further education’ (with S. Canicott and J. Kempton), London: CentreForum.

Scholarships and Awards

  • Overseas Institutional Visit Grant – visiting fellowship at Sciences Po, Paris [£1,850] - ESRC, University of Warwick DTC 2015
  • The Chancellor’s Scholarship - University of Warwick, ESRC match-funded [4 yrs, £60,000+], University of Warwick, ESRC match-funded, 2014-18
  • Best MA Dissertation Prize, ‘Globalisation and the Viability of Social Democracy: The Cases of New Labour and the Parti Socialiste’, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, 2012


I have taught on a number of undergraduate political economy and politics modules within the Politics and International Studies department at Warwick:

  • PO133 – Foundations of Political Economy
  • PO242 – Political Economy of Liberal-Democratic State
  • PO107 – Introductions to Politics

Sean McDaniel

s dot mcdaniel at warwick dot ac dot uk

Sean's page