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.