I was born in Hackney, East London in 1972. My dad was a signwriter, my mum a cleaner, secretary and librarian. I went to Daubeney and Raines Foundations Schools from the ages of 4 - 16: all 'inner city' state schools and am the first person in my family to have gone to University. I left home at 17 and did lots of odd jobs with the high point working in Hackney dole office signing people on during the 90s recession.
I finished my degree at London University in the late 1990s and left London when I was 24. I lived and worked in Bosnia, where I helped establish an NGO focussed on ethnic reconciliation in the still conflict prone town of Brcko. Whilst nearly killed on a number of occasions, it was a walk in the park compared to my formative years growing up in Hackney.
Upon returning to the UK I started my post-grad education, in the great city of Bristol, where I spent a very happy five years. Since then I've lived and moved across the UK, and have now ended back in the beautiful West Country--my favourite bit of the UK by a long way. I now live out in the sticks, having swapped my inner city concrete jungle youth for open fields and mud.
An abiding interest of mine has been researching the role that both actual and latent organised violence can play as a 'social relation' helping structure relationships, often between states but also social groups. My first book examined US counterinsurgency warfare in post-Cold War Latin America, my second the role that US coercive statecraft plays in global energy markets.
I am increasingly interested in the 'culture wars' and am working on a number of projects looking at how these struggles over meaning often have a profound impact on politics.
Aside from international relations, I enjoy cooking, keeping fit and combat sports, especially Muay Thai.