Personal profile

Educational background

BA University of Sussex

PhD University of Birmingham

Personal profile

James Sloam joined the Politics and International Relations Department at Royal Holloway in September 2005. He was previously a lecturer in European Studies at King's College, London and an honorary research fellow at the European Research Institute, University of Birmingham, where he co-ordinated projects on policy transfer in East Central Europe and Youth Participation in democracy. In 2019, he lead a project (together with the NGO Bite the Ballot) for the Greater London Authority (GLA) investigating the key policy issues for young people and questions of civic and political engagement, and their relevance to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In a second project, with Akil Awan and Sofia Collignon for HARI and with the NGO Webroots Democracy, he explored the impact of online intimidation and bullying on the political engagement of young people through social media. In 2020, James received an award of £19,200 from Research England to conduct follow up work with the GLA, to develop its youth engagement strategy. In 2021, he received an award of £9,000 from the British Academy (Mirian Calvo and Carina O'Reilly) to investigate the views of young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds on sustainability in the run-up to COP26.

In 2014, James set up (with Andy Chadwick and Tom Dyson) the department's Politics in Action programme to foster experiential learning and the development of transferfable skills - around 25 Royal Holloway students now take a placement with a politician, government organisations, campaign group or charity each year, and write a research report on their work. In 2020-2021, he set up up new scheme for ethnic minority students (with Doreen Thompson-Addo, Careers) that will secure seven internships for Royal Holloway students in Parliament each year, to counter the under-representation of these groups in Westminster.

Research interests

James Sloam is professor of politics at Royal Holloway University, where he was co-director of the Centre for European Politics from 2007 to 2017. He is a founding convenor of the UK Political Studies Association (PSA) specialist group on young people’s politics and was convenor of the 2013 American Political Science Association (APSA) working group on the same theme. James has published widely in the area of youth, citizenship and politics in Europe and the United States, including articles in West European Politics (2013) and Comparative Political Studies (2014). He also writes about the impact of new forms of political communication on the political participation of young adults (New Media and Society 2018). In 2012, he edited a special issue of Parliamentary Affairs on young people and politics in the UK.

James’ recent work looks at how young people’s repertoires of participation have changed (from previous generations), moving from electoral politics (voting and party membership) to a wide array of non-electoral forms of civic and political engagement, and how these repertoires vary from country to country. He has examined the impact of the financial crisis and new political communication on youth participation i.e. the recent wave of youth protest across Europe (2014 Information, Communication & Society). He writes about issues of ‘voice and equality’ – growing differences in participation within the current generation of young people (2016 British Journal of Politics & International Relations – runner-up for article of the year). James’ research also examines the influence of education and citizenship education on young people – in providing pathways to democratic participation and resilience against populism. His book ‘Youthquake 2017: the Rise of Young Cosmopolitans in Britain’ was published by Palgrave in December 2018 (and had been downloaded more than 43,000 times by August 2021).

Since 2019, James' research has focussed on youth, sustainability and democracy with a focus on the everyday politics of young Londoners from disadvantaged backgrounds. He has published several articles on this topic - including in Sustainable Earth (2020) and Political Insight (2021) with Ben O'Loughlin - and is co-editor of a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Youth Studies (with Matt Henn and Sarah Pickard), which looks at how youth environmental activism has begun to transform electoral politics. 

James has engaged with many organisations that seek to increase youth participation in democracy, including Bite the Ballot, the Intergenerational Foundation (IF), and the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT). He is a fellow of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation and a member of its Political Literacy Organizing Group. In 2016, he authored a chapter on ‘electoral participation’ for the United Nations World Youth Report. In spring 2017, he acted as a consultant for a US government department on youth and politics in Europe. In autumn 2017, he wrote a report on youth participation in the 2017 UK general election for the IF, which was cited by the Oxford English Dictionary in reference to its 2017 Word of the Year (‘youthquake’).

James’ work has had a significant influence on public policy. It was heavily cited in the UK Government’s Youth Citizenship Commission report (2009) and in the 2013 European Commission report ‘Political Participation and EU Citizenship’. His research on citizenship education was used to successfully persuade the Government to incorporate education into the remit of National Citizen Service providers. In July 2019, James delivered the keynote address to the ACT annual conference at London City Hall. In 2020, he delivered two keynote addresses to the Greater London Authority working with children and young people as partners for sustainable public policy (after completing a research project with the GLA on young Londoner’s perspectives on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) and contributed to the GLA Children and Young People as Partners Handbook.

James’ research has recently been cited by various media, including the BBC, Guardian, Le Figaro and USA Today, published as short articles in The Conversation, the Times Higher and the PSA’s Political Insight and for the Fabian Society, Demos the LSE Europe and LSE US blogs. His research has featured on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (with Mark Easton) and on BBC London.



  • PR1400: Introduction to Politics (co-convenor)
  • PR3100: Politics in Action (course leader)
  • PR3680: Young People's Politics (course leader)


  • PR5427: Politics of Democracy (course leader)
  • PR5914: Democracy and Citizenship in Europe (course leader)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Young People
  • Political Participation
  • Sustainability
  • Political Parties
  • German Politics
  • Citizenship Education
  • The Civic University