Political theory

POLSIS features a large and internationally prominent group of political theorists working within diverse approaches. The Political Theory Research Group provides a forum and site of active collaboration for theorists, including doctoral and MA students. Members of the group edit the European Journal of Political Theory, which, since its inception in 2002, has gained a reputation as one of the leading academic journals in the field. Members also are actively involved with the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics at Birmingham, and with the group Academics Stand Against Poverty (www.academicsstand.org) which seeks to enhance academic impact on global poverty. Its UK activities are centered in POLSIS and Global Ethics.

Recent Activities and Forthcoming Events

Members hold a regular seminar to discuss their work in progress. They also regularly organise panels at national and international conferences, as well as organising major workshops and conferences at Birmingham.

Recent conferences include one entitled ‘Should Political Theory Get Real? Liberalism and the Turn to Realism in Recent Political Theory’. Keynote speakers included William Galston (Brookings Institution, Washington DC), Richard Bellamy (London) and Adam Swift (Oxford). Papers presented at the conference appeared in a special issue of the European Journal of Political Theory (Vol. 9, No. 4, 2010).

Other recent Theory group conferences have included one entitled ‘Global Crisis and Constitutionalization’ which featured Antje Weiner (Hamburg) as keynote speaker, and the UK launch conference for Academics Stand Against Poverty, featuring Thomas Pogge (Yale) as keynote. www.academicsstand.org

All MA and PhD students with an interest in theory are encouraged to attend group seminars, to help organise conferences, and to share their own ideas for possible group activities.


Christopher Finlay has research interests in modern political thought; the ethics and theory of political violence; and terrorism and just war theory.

Richard North has research interests in contemporary liberal and democratic theory and normative political philosophy.

Richard Shorten has research interests in the history of political ideas, twentieth century political thought, and the problem of totalitarianism.

PhD Doctoral research students:

Katie Tonkiss
National Self, Post-National Other: An Exploration of Migration, Identity and Loyalty at the Local Level

Stephen Hetherington
The rationales of cultural policy in the UK

Ben Taylor
Edmund Burke and the French Revolution

Flor Gonzalez correa
The role of the transnational companies in the international system

Mai Hamed
Islamic Distributive Justice