Article 36 is collaborating with the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool, who are offering a PhD studentship on “Law in War: Targeting, Legal Reasoning and the Use of Force in Armed Conflict” that we will be part of the supervision team for.

Details for applicants and more background can be found below:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) CASE 1+3 Studentship (Masters and PhD)

Law in War: Targeting, Legal Reasoning and the Use of Force in Armed Conflict Introduction

The Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool invites applications for this full-time 1+3 CASE studentship funded through the Socio-Legal Studies Pathway of the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership: in collaboration with Sociology, University of Manchester, and Article 36, a UK-based not-for- profit organisation working to prevent the unintended, unnecessary or unacceptable harm caused by certain weapons.

Candidates will be expected to have or be on track for a 1st or strong 2:1 BA/BSc degree in a relevant social science (e.g., anthropology, geography, politics, psychology, sociology, science and technology studies) or arts and humanities (e.g. law, philosophy, political theory) discipline at undergraduate level. The project is ethnomethodological in character and will require the student to (a) have some experience/interest in interactional, interpretive or phenomenological methodologies and (b) be prepared to undertake specialist training in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis as part of their masters training.

The studentship/project/supervision

The studentship will extend over four years commencing in October 2017. The objective is to examine the changing character of law in war, focusing specifically on the role that legal considerations play in decisions around targeting and the use of force in situations of armed conflict. Exactly how legal considerations should shape decisions in armed conflict is a matter of fierce debate. At the same time, however, the role the law actually does play in situations of war remains under-explored. With a focus on ‘legal ethnomethods’ in armed conflict, i.e. the practical forms of legal reasoning that military operatives collaboratively engage in as part of decisions about when and how to employ the use of force, this study will seek to address that gap empirically, casting light on the role of law on the battlefield. More specifically it will approach these issues by examining cases where those who force was used against were wrongly viewed and categorised as ‘legal’ targets based on public domain audio, video and transcript data. It will focus on one case in particular, a drone-led airstrike against Afghan civilians who had been mistaken for enemy combatants.

The successful candidate will be registered at the University of Liverpool and will undertake research on battlefield legal reasoning from bases in Liverpool and London. The student will be supervised by Dr Michael Mair (Sociology, University of Liverpool), Professor Wes Sharrock (Sociology, University of Manchester), Elizabeth Minor (Article 36) and Dr Michelle Farrell (Law, University of Liverpool).

Registration/tuition fees, maintenance grant and additional benefits

The studentship provides funding on a 1+3 basis. The studentship is available to cover UK/EU fees and an annual Research Council maintenance grant. Rates for the academic year 1 2017-18 will be as follows (subject to confirmation from the ESRC): Maintenance Grant £14,533 for the four year studentship, plus access to a Research Training Support Grant.

The Studentship will cover all UK/EU fees and will provide the student with an annual ESRC/NWSSDTP maintenance grant. The value of the maintenance grant for the academic year 2017-18 (subject to confirmation from the ESRC) will be £14,533. Additionally, the successful candidate will also have access to an ESRC/NWSSDTP Research Training Support Grant and financial support to attend conferences from the Department/School/Faculty.

All UK citizens and EU citizens who qualify as residents in the UK are eligible for fees and full maintenance grant. EU citizens not resident in the UK are eligible for fees only.

Application process and general information

To apply please submit:

  • An up-to-date CV including details of two named referees (one of whom should be your most recent academic tutor/supervisor)
  • A letter of application (not exceeding 2 pages) outlining your interest in, and suitability for, the Doctoral Studentship and how you would anticipate approaching the research
  • Copies/confirmation of your University qualifications

Applications – with ‘1+3 CASE Award Law in War’ in the subject line of the email – should be submitted to: Ms Leah Linton –

The deadline for receipt of applications is 17.00 hrs, Monday 3rd April 2017. Shortlisted candidates will be provided with additional information prior to interview. If you have not received any contact from the University by Monday 10th April, you can assume that you have not been successful on this occasion.

For further information on the project contact Dr Michael Mair:

Information about the University of Liverpool and the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology can be found at: policy-and-criminology/

Information about the studentship can be found at: social-policy-and-criminology/study/phd/funding/

Information regarding academic and residential eligibility can be found at: an-esrc-studentship


Photo: Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the U.S. drone strike on her Pakistan village which killed her grandmother Mammana Bibi, at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013 REUTERS/Jason Reed

Posted in: Latest posts and news, University of Liverpool collaboration,