Senior Research Associate
Current work and interests
Benjamin Hawkins is a Senior Research Associate in the Social Sciences at the MRC Epidemiology Unit. He joined the unit from at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in May 2021, where he was an Associate Professor in Global Health Policy. His work focusses on the political economy and regulation of alcohol and tobacco at the national, regional and global levels, concentrating principally on the role of corporate political actors in the policy-making process.
Background and experience
Benjamin has worked extensively on the issue of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK and has examined the implications of international trade and investment agreements and EU single market law for the ability of national governments to enact effective health and social policies. Methodologically, his work employs qualitative research methods including semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis and draws on a range of associated theoretical approaches including framing and discourse theory. He seeks to apply concepts from the social science to add depth and further insights to scholarly analysis of health issues. In addition to his work on health policy, he has a long-standing interest in the EU and processes of European integration.
His PhD examined the relationship between Britain and the EU focusing on the debates surrounding the European Constitution and the Treaty of Lisbon and he has recently completed a research monograph examining Eurosceptic discourses in the Brexit referendum debates. Prior to his PhD at the University of Edinburgh, he completed and MSc in Modern Languages and EU Studies, before working as a secondary school teacher and in sales and marketing for a global alcoholic drinks producer.