Owen Parker

Dr Owen Parker

Senior Lecturer in European Politics

Contact Details:
Telephone: +44 (0)114 2221695
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1717
Room: 2.02 Elmfield
Email: o.parker@sheffield.ac.uk


Owen Parker joined the Department as Lecturer in European Politics in April 2012 and became Senior Lecturer in 2015. He was awarded a PhD in Politics and International Studies from Warwick in September 2010 (ESRC funded), holds Masters degrees from Warwick (Politics, International Political Economy track, 2007) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (International Relations, 2002), and a BSc from Bath (Politics and Economics, 2000).

Owen’s research and teaching is focused on the politics and political economy of the European Union. Recent research consists of three related strands: the political economy of EU citizenship and migration within and into the EU (see Research projects below); the political economy of the contemporary EU, with a focus on the Eurozone crisis, economic governance and comparative political economy; and Brexit.

Owen’s academic interests dovetail with his prior professional experience. Following his MSc at the LSE, he worked from 2003-2006 as 'International Relations Officer' at the European Commission (Directorate General for Enlargement, Turkey Unit), working on the assessment of Turkey's fulfilment of the EU's Copenhagen political criteria (relating to human rights, democracy, rule of law, minority rights).

Owen is an Associate Fellow of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), where he co-leads a programme of research entitled: European Capitalism and the Crises of the European Union.

He was previously Director of Undergraduate studies and is currently the department’s Director of MA Programmes.


I currently teach and lead the undergraduate modules POL206, The Politics and Government of the EU, and POL3109, Britain and the EU. The first of these considers the history of European integration and key theories for explaining integration before turning to consider contemporary issues such as the Eurozone crisis, the migration crisis, the democratic deficit, Brexit and possible dis-integration. The second considers the UK’s historically difficult relationship with the EU, with a significant portion of the module focused, of course, on contemporary issues pertaining to Brexit.

While the EU is often regarded and portrayed as a highly technocratic and bureaucratic (read boring!) entity, I have always sought in my teaching to emphasise its political, economic and social relevance – whether adjudged as good and bad -- for the everyday lives of European citizens and those beyond Europe’s borders. I do this by frequently using archival and multi-media resources and setting up debates and role-plays in the classroom. I have also invited external speakers to come and talk to my classes: Linda McAvan MEP has, for instance, delivered extra classes with me in recent years. Above all, I aim to create a friendly learning environment, where all feel comfortable to participate.

I have previously taught the MA module POL6001, Europeanisation, and at my former institution, the University of Warwick, I taught modules on the EU at undergraduate level and International Political Economy at MA level.

I co-author a leading Oxford University Press textbook on EU politics, Politics in the European Union, with colleagues at Sheffield, I have published on teaching the EU in the Journal of Common Market Studies and in 2016 I was invited to deliver the University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES) keynote lecture at the Political Studies Association (PSA) teaching conference.

PhD Supervision

To date, I have as principal supervisor successfully supervised one PhD to successful completion and a number of others as second supervisor. I would be interested in supervising students working on European politics, particularly those with an interest in: the political economy of migration in Europe; the politics of EU citizenship and free movement; the political economy of the EU; comparative European political economy; social or progressive futures for the EU; the politics and political economy of Brexit.



  • The political economy of the contemporary European Union
    • EU economic governance
    • Comparative European political economy
    • The eurozone crisis
  • The politics and political economy of citizenship, mobility and migration in the European Union
  • Normative (political theory) and critical approaches to the European Union
  • The politics and political economy of Brexit
  • Progressive politics and the European Union

Key Projects

Awarding Body: Leverhulme Trust (Research Fellowship)
Title of Research: Citizenship for Sale: Immigrant Investor Programmes in Crisis EU?
Duration: September 2014-2015
Total Award: £45,000

Awarding Body: Leverhulme Trust (Early Career Fellowship)
Title of Research: Roma Resistance in the EU: Beyond Cosmopolitan Government?
Duration: October 2011-2013
Total Award: approx. £55,000



Journal articles



  • Parker O (2010) ‘Mapping the global policy environment for UK poverty-related policy: the European Union’, Report for Joseph Rowntree Foundation project: Global Governance and UK Poverty and Communities.

Media (selected)

  • The Labour Party’s free movement dilemma. SPERI Comment, 31 July 2017.
  • The political economy of the White Paper on the Future of Europe. SPERI Comment, Part 1 21 March 2017; Part 2, 22 March 2017.
  • The Labour Party, free movement and Brexit. openDemocracy, 10 December 2016.
  • Brexit and the left: heading deeper into the void. SPERI Comment, 27 June 2016.
  • Lexit? Careful what you wish for. SPERI Comment, 12 April 2016.
  • The unfulfilled promise of social rights in crisis EU. (with Robbie Pye) Social Europe, 21 January 2016.
  • Spanish politics in major flux. SPERI Comment, 20 January 2016.
  • The self-protection of European society (inside and outside the EU). SPERI Comment, 24 September 2015.
  • Fundamental rights and neoliberalism in crisis Spain (and crisis EU). SPERI Comment, 25 June 2015.
  • Dilemmas for the left on EU citizenship. SPERI Comment, 25 November 2014.
  • Citizenship for sale? SPERI Comment, 4 September 2014.
  • Everyday life in crisis Spain: are we all Roma now? 1 October 2013. • Why entrepreneurs will not save the world. 30 May 2013.

Selected Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • ‘Teaching Theory in Crisis EU: A Pluralist Approach’. Invitation to deliver the University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES) keynote address at the UK Political Studies Association (PSA) teaching conference, Newcastle University, 14 September 2016.
  • 'Critical Political Economy and Mobility in the EU: Or, is there something rotten after all in the state of Denmark?'. Invitation to deliver Annual International Political Economy Lecture, University of Warwick, 18 May 2016.
  • ‘Commercialising citizenship in Crisis EU’. Invited discussant to keynote, Professor Peter Spiro, at event on skilled migration, Sheffield Law School, 21 June 2015. .
  • ‘Free Movement for whom, where, when: Mobile Roma in Spain’, Invitation to present at Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences Migration Research Group Launch Symposium: Patterns and Pathways in European Union Migration and Mobility since 2004, January 2014.
  • ‘EU citizenship and mobile Roma: Free Movement for whom, where, when?’, Invitation to present at the Jean Monnet Centre Seminar series, University of Manchester, April 2013.

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