The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Xander Kirke

Teaching Fellow - Politics



Ph.D. in Politics (Newcastle University). Thesis title ‘Political Myth and the Need for Significance: Finding Ontological Security During Times of Terror

MA International Relations (Diplomacy), University of Reading

BA Politics and International Relations, University of Reading

Web profiles





Research Interests 

Political Myth

Terrorism and Radicalisation

Ontological Security

Political Extremism

My research explores the relation between myth and politics, with particular reference to terrorism, extremism and radicalisation. I am published on how movements such as al-Qaeda made use of e-magazines in order to recruit young, Western Muslims into acts of violence. My work builds on existential approaches to political myth that conceive of it as the collective “work” on dramatic and figurative narratives which provide significance to the political conditions of social groups. I do not conceptualise political myth as a necessarily false claim or untrue story, but a form of narrative that answers fundamental human existential needs for significance that we all experience. I am currently exploring the various dimensions of myth in the politics of far-right movements, broadly conceived. 


Journal Articles

Kirke, X. (2015) ‘Violence and Political Myth: Radicalizing Believers in the Pages of Inspire Magazine’, International Political Sociology, 9 (1): 283-298.


Kirke, X. (2018) Hans Blumenberg: Myth and Significance in Modern Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Book Chapters

Behr, H. and Kirke, X. (2014) People on the Move – Ideas on the Move: Academic Cultures and the Problematic of Translatability

Book Reviews

Kirke, X. (2015) Review of the Book Rethinking Power, Institutions and Ideas in World Politics: Whose IR? by Acharya, A. Political Studies Review, 13, (3): 393-469

Online Articles

Kirke, X. (2015) Violent Jihadist Magazines: Exploiting a Human Need for Significance, E-International Relations. Available at:

Behr, H. and Kirke, X. (2014) The Tale of Realism in International Relations, E-International Relations. Available at:


Kirke, X. (2015) 'An Ethics of Inclusionary Writing.' Paper presented to the '"Unlearning" International Relations in Global Perspectives' conference. Newcastle University, September 11 2015.





  • POL3116 The Ethics of War (Module Leader)
  • POL 1032 Introduction to International Politics


  • POL 1045 Truth, Lies and Politics
  • POL 2082 Political Violence and the Modern State
  • POL 8006 Theories of International Relations
  • HSS8007 An Introduction to the Nature of Explanation and Enquiry