Dr Amarjit Lahel

Research Fellow in Politics and International Relations / Member of the Aston Centre for Europe 

Amarjit Lahel

Dr Amarjit Lahel joined the Aston Centre for Europe (ACE) as a Research Fellow in September 2012. She gained her PhD at Aston in 2012; and a double First in her first degree in Politics and Sociology. She is currently working with Professor John Gaffney on a two-year Leverhulme funded project entitled: ‘The nature and process of the construction of contemporary leadership discourse and persona’. Ed Miliband, leader of the UK Labour Party is the case study as used in this research. The overarching research questions for the project are: what is the architecture and what are the mechanics of leadership persona construction and performance in contemporary politics? In answering these questions, Professor Gaffney and Dr Lahel have laid the foundations for the construction of a heuristic analytical model which can be applied to a range of political leaders in order to appraise leadership performance. The project is multidisciplinary, involving the theories and methods of political science, as well as rhetorical, media, and performance studies. They hope to establish the discursive, iconographic, and stylistic elements of the political performance of contemporary political leadership personae.

The research that Amarjit is working on is close to her PhD in which she undertook a comparative analysis of the leadership performance of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. At Aston, she will continue her research interests on political leadership, culture, political institutions and the contemporary media as well as pursue new research on political parties, ideologies and the media.

Previously, Amarjit studied at Central St. Martins School of Art and Design; she is an accomplished painter and combines her art and political science background in her portraits of political leaders, and other political and social subjects of study. 

  • DPhil ‘Political Leadership: Character and Performance. A Comparative Analysis of British Political Leadership, 1997-2010’ (Aston University, 2012).
  • BsC Politics and Sociology (Aston University, First Class Honours, 2003).
  • National Diploma in Art and Design (Central St. Martins School of Art and Design, London, 2000).


As a Doctoral student, Amarjit has taught a range of modules on British politics, political leadership, and the media and politics at Level 1 and 3. She is currently running a Study Support Series for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students. The series offers practical workshops and individual consultations on dissertation writing, essay writing skills, exam preparation and research skills.

Amarjit’s research interests are political leadership, political parties and ideologies, culture, institutions and the media. Her research uses a mixed methodology (rhetorical, sociological, anthropological, and performance studies) to analyse political performance as taking place within and upon cultural and institutional contexts. Her research on leadership performance appraises the role and effects of performance and persona upon the political process. 

  • Gaffney, J. & Lahel, A. ‘Political performance and leadership persona: The UK Labour party conference of 2012’. Government and Opposition, 48(4), 481-505.Published early online, 9 July 2013
  • Gaffney, J. & Lahel, A. The Morphology of the Labour Party’s One Nation Narrative: Story, Plot and Authorship. The Political Quarterly, forthcoming. Published early online, 25 September 2013 and distributed as part of a special collection of essays at the 2013 annual Labour Party Conference. http://www.politicalquarterly.org.uk/2013/09/one-nation.html
  • She and Professor Gaffney are currently working on a co-authored book on their Leverhulme project. 


  • David Cameron and Conservatism
  • Political Parties and Ideologies.


Dr Amarjit Lahel (LSS, ACE) was interviewed by New Style Radio on October 30th. She took part in a programme called Different Angles of Society, a political show aimed at Birmingham's multicultural population. Dr Lahel has been invited to take part in subsequent shows in order to explore political ideologies, structures of power, local democracy and the 2015 general election. 
  • Political Studies Association


Room: NW 803a
Phone: 01212045375
Email: a.lahel1@aston.ac.uk   

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