Mark Aspinwall

Mark Aspinwall
Professor Mark Aspinwall
Professor of Politics
Politics and International RelationsSchool of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of Edinburgh
58 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 651 1730
Research Interests
Mexico, Mexican politics, Political economy of North America, Political economy, European Integration

Guidance and Feedback Hours

None in 2013, as I'll be on research leave and working in Mexico City.


  • BA (Middlebury College)
  • MA (University of Rhode Island)
  • MSc, PhD (LSE)


Mark is a native of Massachusetts who teaches international relations and international political economy. In his previous life he worked as a professional staffer in the US House of Representatives, and a Washington lobbyist for a consortium of shipowners. Prior to that, he worked as a tour boat captain in Boston Harbor, and as a mate on several schooners. He has held visiting positions at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University, Peoples University in Beijing, and the European University Institute (Florence).

Research Interests

Mark's research interests are in regional integration, and especially the impact of regional organizations on domestic politics in North America and the European Union. His main project concerns the capacity-building effect of the NAFTA environmental side agreement on Mexican politics. This project is part-funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh. He is also Coordinator of MERCURY, a consortium of nine partner institutions funded by the European Commission, examining the external relations of the European Union. See

He has published in numerous scholarly journals, including British Journal of Political Science, Review of International Studies and Political Studies. He is an editorial board member of the journal European Union Politics, and is a member of the following Politics Research Groups: International Politics Research Group; European Union Research Group.

Selected Recent Publications

  • (with Mark Duckenfield) 'Private interests and exchange rate politics: the case of British business,' European Union Politics vol. 11, no. 3 (2010).
  • 'NAFTA-ization: regionalization and domestic political adjustment in the North American economic area,' Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 47, no. 1 (2009).
  • 'Government preferences on European integration: an empirical test of five theories,' British Journal of Political Science, vol. 37, no. 1 (2007).
  • Rethinking Britain and Europe: Plurality Elections, Party Management, and British Policy on European Integration, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004).


Mark is involved in ongoing training and capacity-building efforts in various countries. He gives a twice-yearly talk to senior NATO officers and Foreign/Defence Ministry officials at the NATO Defence College in Rome, on the politics of the international financial system. He has done training courses for civil servants in Taiwan and Mexico on the European Union, and taught at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels in the USA, China, France, Cuba, Mexico, Slovenia, and others.


Mark teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses in the Political Economy of East Asia, as well as a second-year course on international organisations entitled International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond. In 2009 he was nominated by the Edinburgh University Students' Association for a teaching award.

Teaching Innovation

Mark produced a 10-minute video as an exercise, illustrating outsourcing as an element of globalisation. In the video, which was shown to students in our course International Cooperation in Europe and Beyond (and which won the 2010 Edinburgh University Students' Association award for Innovative Teaching), someone pretends to be a new lecturer from India, replacing Mark by video link in order to reduce costs to the University and ultimately to the students. Also posted is a short video explaining the rationale and including some of the out-takes and interviews with the director and the 'lecturer' from India.

View the Outsourcing Lecture here.

View the 'Making of' and Out-Takes here.

Topics interested in supervising

Regional integration in North America and Europe; Domestic impacts of regional integration; Mexican responses to NAFTA; UK politics and European integration.

If you are interested in being supervised by Mark Aspinwall, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Politics