Been awhile since I last put anything down. It's been a busy week (isn't it always), with John Chalcraft enlightening the PhD government department seminar on the role and status of Syrian migrant workers in Lebanon and what it tells us about ideas of capital and labour (the working assumption is that Syrians have more agency than is otherwise presented in Marxist theory, but in accepting their lowly status and constant cycle of return to Syria, the process merely reinforces itself) and David Held.
Held is a bit of a media darling, having written extensively on the limits of globalisation, especially in the democratic realm. His research agenda can be outlined as follows: democracy is a norm that has progressed from the polis to the nation state, but is caught out by the unequal nature of the world system. His interest is in assessing and proposing ways to overcome the global 'democratic deficit' - a topic that has put him among those few academics whose texts have a wider readership than most.
Moral of the story? Find something topical to do your PhD on, it seems.