Rob believes political science research tells us how politics is changing and when citizens might want a new kind of politics.
“There’s so much we don’t yet know about political science,” he says. “Democracy is changing with the upsurge of populism, the decline in trust and the rise of China. Centre-left political parties are experiencing a period of retreat and decline. The modern party system in many countries is changing beyond recognition.”
“There are political problems we’re not even close to fully understanding or solving yet," Rob adds. “Our whole society depends on future knowledge and scholarship to help us better understand political change, especially in the face of the mounting climate emergency.”
Rob's current primary research, therefore, looks at the crisis of social democracy, trying to draw lessons and understanding about the decline of the family of centre-left parties. He co-wrote a collection – ‘Why the Left Loses’ CNN used for a special edition program.
He employs humour as a learning tool in class to make students think differently about political science, earning him a 2014 faculty citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. The interplay between Batman and the Joker helps teach the concept of ‘governance’ and each year he crowns a student monarch of the class to help discuss the sources of political legitimacy.
Rob’s inspired by the quiet fortitude of many MPs, citizen activists, human rights defenders and advocates, his students and Chelsea Football Club, decent coffee, his family, and their ridiculous dog, Mr Brown.