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Photo of Professor Lise Storm

Professor Lise Storm

BA, MA (Copenhagen), PHD (Exeter)

Associate Professor of Party Politics


01392 725255

Democracy and democratization. Parties, party systems, and party system institutionalization. These are the topics at the core of my research agenda. While I frequently work on cases outside of the Arab World, this is where my heart lies. In fact, it belongs to North Africa, and the Maghreb in particular. Over the past few years, I have published, lectured and debated widely on issues relating to the state of democracy and the likelihood of democratic, political change in North Africa. Most notably, I have published Party Politics and the Prospects for Democracy in North Africa (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2013) and ‘The Fragile Tunisian Democracy’ in Gana (ed.) The Making of the Tunisian Revolution (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013).  

With the eruption of the Arab Uprisings, there was an immense surge in demand for research and publications on the state of the democratization process in the Middle East and North Africa. Did the Middle East and North Africa appear to be changing politically? And in which direction(s)? In response to this growing interest in the region, I published a series of chapters and edited volumes with colleagues overseas,  focusing on the region's parties, such as e.g., The Routledge Handbook on Political Parties in the Middle East and North Africa (London: Routledge, 2020) with Francesco Cavatorta and Valeria Resta, in which I also had a chapter entitled 'Political Parties and Competitive Authoritarianism' and a co-authored chapter with Hinnebusch and Cavatorta: 'Political Parties in MENA: an introduction'. Another volume I edited with Francesco Cavatorta was published in 2018 Political Parties in the Arab World (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), which also included a co-authored chapter with Cavatorta entitled 'Do Arabs not do parties?'. Other chapters I have recently published include 'Political Parties in the Middle East' in R Hinnebusch and Y Gana (eds) The Routledge Research Companion to Middle East Politics (London: Routledge, 2018) and 'Parties and Party System Change' in I. Szmolka (ed) Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa After the Arab Spring (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

My research agenda over the coming years will take a slight change of course with a view to generate new, deeper knowledge on political parties, not only in the MENA, but also beyond.  Consolidating and building on my research to date, the emphasis of my research agenda will be on exploring broader themes, often in a global comparative setting, but applying qualitative methods. The main areas I will explore are:

My research agenda has always, as already mentioned, centred on the subject of democracy. Although the focus has often been on North African politics (see, for example, Democratization in Morocco), this has not always been the case. I have also published on party assistance (‘Problems of Party Assistance in Hybrid Regimes’ with Nicole Bolleyer), on radicalization (‘The Persistence of Authoritarianism as a Source of Radicalization in North Africa’ and ‘The Dilemma of the Islamists’), as well as definitions of democracy (‘An Elemental Definition of Democracy and its Advantages for Comparing Political Regime Types’). I am not, in other words, a clear-cut area studies person. All my research is highly theory-driven, and my main interest is political parties as agents of change, even if my heart does belong to the Maghreb.

For office hours and research leave, please see here.

Links to publications can be found on the 'Publications' tab.

Research group links

Research interests

My research is located in the Middle East Social Sciences cluster within the IAIS. I am Director of the newly established Centre for Middle East Politics (C-MEP) and I am a member of the cross-departmental CEMAP, which focuses on electoral and party politics. 

My main research interests are:

  • Party politics
  • Islamist parties
  • Ethnic parties and movements
  • Elections
  • Democratization processes
  • Democracy promotion/assistance/support
  • International development (SDG16)
  • Party aid
  • Authoritarianism 
  • Politics in 'hybrid' regimes
  • Party system institutionalization
  • Mechanisms of regime survival in non-democratic states

I work on all of the above themes, mainly within the context of the Middle East. However, I also focus extensively on Latin America and dabble in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and the West Balkans.

Research supervision

I am happy to supervise students working on democracy, democratization, authoritarianism, political parties, and party system institutionalization as well as international aid and development relating to SDG16. The cases studied do not necessarily have to be Middle Eastern or Muslim World centred – as an associate of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies (EXCEPS) and the Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS), I also welcome students working on Latin American and African politics.

I expect my students to reside in the UK and/or to travel to Exeter on a regular basis (at least once every two months).

Students supervised by me must have a firm grounding in political science or have good work experience in a relevant field.

Research students

I have seen quite a number of students through to completion, including Dr Anaïd Flesken, who worked on the relationship between electoral systems and ethnic conflict in Latin America; Dr Mona Farag, who owrked on women in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; Dr Abdelouahed Motaouakal on al-Adl wal-Ihsan in Morocco; Dr Billie Jeanne Brownlee (Syrian media and resistance); Dr Irwan Mohamed Syazli on Malaysian Islamist parties and the Arab Uprisings; Dr Emman el-Badawy (education and democracy in Egypt); Dr Jihad Mashamoun on Saudi foreign policy and proxy war; Dr Tobias Bork on Gulf Foreign Policy; and Dr Stephane Hlaimi on Islam and contested public space.

At present I supervise:

Mr Khaled Alteneiji (w Ella Gao) on democratization in the Arab Gulf states

Mr Rami Babiker (w Ella Gao) on Arabism post-Uprisings

Mr Bogdan Brebeanu on rebel to party transformation

Mr Christopher Cox (w Ella Gao) on Moroccan youth activism

Mr Vito Morisco (w Billie Jeanne Brownlee) on the Hezbollah and Hamas




Other information

In addition to teaching and research, I am heavily engaged in administrative and managerial roles. I have previously held the roles of Director of Research (DoR) and Director of Education (DoE) (IAIS) as well as Chair of the Ethics Committee (College of Social Sciences and International Studies) and member of the Ethical Review Group (University of Exeter). Presently, I hold the following posts:

  • Director of the new Center for Middle East Politics; C-MEP (a joint effort between the IAIS and the Department of Politics)
  • Athena SWAN lead applicant (IAIS) (on hold)
  • Academic Lead (IAIS)
  • Member of CEMAP (University of Exeter)

Outside of the University, but related to my field of study, I am a founding member of REPRESENT, which is a research center for the study of parties and democracy, bringing together academics and practitioners. For more information, please see the REPRESENT website

I also...

  • serve on the editorial board of the journal Mediterranean Politics
  • am a Fellow of the HEA
  • volunteer at the Exeter Food Bank 

In my spare time, I cook, bake and run, whittle spoons, and make things out of wood and clay.

External impact and engagement

Over the past couple of years, I have carried out work on political parties, party assistance and democratization with and for various institutions and organizations, most notably the FCO and the DfID (now the FCDO) as well as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).



2021-present: Associate Professor of Party Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

2010-2021: Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. 

2009-2010: Lecturer in Middle East Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

2007-2009: Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Comparative Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Department of Politics.

2006-2007: Lecturer in Middle East Politics. University of Exeter (UK), Department of Politics. 


2002-2006: PhD, Political Science. University of Exeter (UK), Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Thesis: The Limits and Opportunities of Democratization from Above: Moroccan Political ‘Games’, 1956-2005.

Supervisor: Prof. Tim Niblock; external examiner: Dr Michael Willis (Oxford).


2000-2002: MA, Political Science. University of Copenhagen (DK), Institute of Political Science.

The first year of the degree was spent at Leiden University (NL), Department of Public Administration.

Dissertation: Theories of Conflict Resolution and Turkey’s Kurdish Question.

Supervisor: Prof. Dietrich Jung.


1997-2000: BA, Political Science. University of Copenhagen (DK), Institute of Political Science.


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