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Dr Maria Gloria Polimeno
Associate Lecturer



Maria Gloria works on the Middle East and North Africa with a particular focus on (i) comparative politics, (ii) international relations and Euro-Mediterranean relations, and (iii) international political economy. These are clusters that have emerged during the past four years. Gloria’s approach to research uses all possible means of analysis and mixed methodologies that also expand on software tools to minimise risks of subjective interpretations. Gloria’s works are located in the renewed interests in authoritarianism with particular reference to the understanding and functioning of “upgraded” regimes after social protests. In this first area she also looks at the dynamics of internal and external political legitimacy, state violence, democracy and the politics of political parties. Regarding the second area, this is mainly rooted in international relations and the broader Euro-Mediterranean relations. As per the third area, instead, it explores political economic reforms and developmentalism in the region from a comparative perspective. Sub-fields of research include the UN-Social Development Goals 16, Urban transformations in the Global South, economic reforms, social security and international assistance to development. Due to implications that emerge from these latter themes, Maria Gloria is opened to collaborative research.

Before taking up her position at the University of York, Gloria held a four-year position at the University of Exeter where she was a Teaching Associate in Middle East Politics and Economy and previously a Teaching Fellow both at the IAIS and the Department of Politics. She has taught across different modules and courses, amongst which: Middle East Politics, Politics of Authoritarian and Semi-Democratic Countries, Security Studies, Economics of Politics, Global Conflict Security and Humanitarianism, Political Analysis, Nationalisms in the Middle East and Economics of Development.  As a member of the Department of Politics and International Studies, in 2017/2018 she taught at the School of Oriental and Africa Studies (SOAS), University of London. In 2016/2017 she was Assistant Lecturer at the Birkbeck College, University of London. From 2014 until 2021 she engaged with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office as an Academic and previously a Regional assessor in the Middle East and North Africa Committee for the Chevening Programme. Gloria is also a UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab Expert.

Maria Gloria holds a PhD in Middle East Politics from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), College of Social Science and International Studies at the University of Exeter. She is also a nominated Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Maria Gloria is a member of:

  • The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESANA)
  • The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES)
  • Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO)
  • European Council for Political Research (ECPR)

At the University of York she is a member of the following Clusters:



Maria Gloria is a Global Expert in the Varieties of Democracy Project (V-Dem) at the V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg. She is also a Global Expert in the Democracy Under Threat: How Education can Save it Project (DEMED), a partnership between the University of Glasgow and the V-Dem at the University of Gothenburg. These two larger projects are funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

In addition, she was Country Expert on Libya for the GLOBALCIT Observatory, supported by the European University Institute's Global Governance Programme, and the British Academy project CITMODES.

Maria Gloria also held research positions as a Visiting Scholar and Academic Visitor at SOAS, University of London.

Maria Gloria is currently working on two research projects. The first project expands some of the findings that emerged from her doctorate. The project looks at the intersection between state violence and policies of securitisation in Egypt after 2016 and locate them against a background of institutional and infrastructural change. This understanding is analysed along the spectrum of a contested political legitimacy in what is considered an upgraded system that, when analysed at the inner level, breaks with the country’s historical political past. Findings from this work can have broader impacts beyond Egypt, both from a theoretical and ethical perspective. This first project is 10-month research submitted for German funding. Outputs will target the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and Security Dialogue.

Another study Maria Gloria is working on is a book project located in the renewed debate on authoritarianism. It looks at the contested struggle for internal political legitimacy and theorises an organic variation at the sub-systemic level in Egypt in the context of the post-2013 coup setting. She wrote a doctorate on Egypt entitled “Variation in the Regime: The Struggle for Internal Legitimacy in Egypt, 2013-2019”. The book does not take a standpoint as to the political legitimacy of the post-2013 authorities but rather intends to achieve a strictly independent and scholarly historical-political and economic understanding of the process of legitimation, approached as a transformative and fluid activity in a fixed and concluded timeframe. This is a prelude to a larger and comparative Postdoc project.


Selected publications

Maria Gloria’s selected publications include 


  • Polimeno, M.G. (2015). “The 2014 Egyptian Constitution: Balancing Leadership with civil rights” Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, Vol. 2 issue 1 p.1-67 Centre for the Study of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zurich.

Research Reports

  • Polimeno, M.G. (2021). The Libyan Citizenship and Nationality Law Acts from independence to 2020. Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Report 2021/10 for the GLOBALCIT Observatory. European University Institute.

Book Sections

  • Polimeno, M.G. (2016). Fury and Soldiery of None God: behind ISIS's dysfunctions and the future of counter-terrorism in (eds) Al-Anis and Underhill Integration versus Disintegration in the post Uprising Middle East, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


  • (forthcoming) Polimeno, M.G. (2022) “Watermelon Democracy”. Democratisation 29(2).
  • Polimeno, M.G. (2021) “The Roots of Revolts: Egypt political economy from Nasser to Mubarak. Democratisation 28(3).
  • Polimeno, M.G.  (2018). 'The Arab Uprisings in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia and Routledge Handbook of Mediterranean Politics” International Affairs, Vol. 94 issue 5, Oxford University Press.
  • Polimeno, M.G. (2018). “The New Middle East: Protests and Revolution in the Arab World”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 45(2):318-319 London Routledge.
  • Polimeno, M.G. (2017). ‘The Peacebuilding Puzzle: Political Order in Post-Conflict States’ Democratisation, 25(1). London Routledge.


  •  ‘’Ten years of Arab Uprisings and EU’s Politics of Neglect’’ 25th January 2021. The Loop, European Consortium for Political Research.

photo of Maria Gloria Polimeno

Contact details

Dr Maria Gloria Polimeno
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 328964

Feedback and Guidance hours, (Summer term) Mondays 10:30-11:30 & Tuesdays 15:00-16:00