Sandra's main research areas include global development, the historical sociology of global relations, the causes and conditions of war and peace, and Middle East politics.
Her research has focused primarily on the nature and shape of global development and its impact on different parts of the world.
Its principal concern has been to understand how societies develop through essentially trans-national, cross-regional processes.
It focuses, most particularly, on structures of social power, their relationship to different developmental outcomes, how they have evolved over time locally, trans-nationally, and cross-regionally; and what factors and conditions, historically, have proved necessary for their reproduction and transformation.
She is the author of three cross-regional and trans-historical comparative studies: In the Mirror of the Third World: Capitalist Development in Modern Europe (Cornell University Press, 1997), War and Social Change in Modern Europe: the great transformation revisited (Cambridge University Press, 2004); and Re-Envisioning Global Development: a ‘horizontal’ perspective (Routledge).
She is also co-author (with Oliver Heath) of Political Research: methods and practical skills (2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2016), co-editor (with Ronen Palan) of Legacies of Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2015, co-editor (with Gordon Laxer) of Global Civil Society and Its Limits (Palgrave/ Macmillan, 2003), and author of articles on globalisation, development theory, historical sociology, nationalism, ethnic conflict, Islam, and democracy in the Middle East.
She is currently at work on a study entitled The Middle East in Global Development.