PhD Student Profile

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson

PhD Student

School: School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology

Campus: Canterbury

Project title

‘The Limits of Territorial Autonomy: Secession in Liberal Democratic States.’

Supervisors: Dr Soeren Keil and Dr David Bates.

Profile summary

My PhD project examines the relationship between territorial autonomy and secession in liberal democratic states. Multinational states throughout the world have employed territorial arrangements in order to accommodate and appease the minority nationalist movements within their states, yet today secession is an issue which continues to plague the politics of these liberal democracies. My thesis, through the prism of 3 cases - Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom - aims to examine the role territorial autonomy has played, and the limits of such arrangements, as well as investigating why and when minority nationalist movements mobilise. 

I studied my undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2011 with a First Class Honours degree in Politics and Spanish. I spent a few years in Catalonia before studying a Masters in Federalism, Nationalism and Multiculturalism at the University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, where I graduated in 2014. My PhD is funded by a university scholarship, which I won as part of a competitive process.  

Teaching and Subject Expertise

  • Level 4 – Contemporary Global Politics
  • Level 5 – Federalism, Multinationalism and the Future of Europe
  • Level 5 – British Politics Continuity and Change 
  • Level 5 - States and Regimes
  • Level 7 - Advanced Research Methodology
  • Level 7 - Advanced Research in Politics

Research Outputs


  • ‘The 2016 Scottish Parliament Election: a nationalist minority, a Conservative comeback and a Labour collapse’ Regional and Federal Studies,
  • ‘Minority Nationalism and the European Union: The Cases of Scotland and Catalonia’, L’Europe en Formation, Spring 2016. (with Soeren Keil).

Conference Participation

  • June 2016: ‘Between Autonomy and Secession: Catalonia, Spain and Territorial Reform’, paper presented at UACES workshop: Transforming Politics in Spain: Local, Regional and State-wide Perspectives, University of Liverpool.
  • July 2016: ‘Could Federalism save the Union? Territorial Governance and Constitutional Change in the United Kingdom’, paper presented at IPSA World Congress, Poznań, Poland.
  • October 2016: ‘‘Bosnia and Herzegovina: Constitutional Politics in a “State of Minorities” (with Soeren Keil). Paper presented at the GRSP Conference ‘Constitutional Politics in Multinational States’, Quebec, Canada. 

Funding Awards

  • 2015-2018 - Graduate School PhD Scholarship
  • 2017- UACES and James Madison Charitable Trust Scholarship for fieldwork.


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Last edited: 08/03/2017 14:18:00