Social and political theory

The Social and Political Theory (SPT) Research Group is housed within the Department of Political Science and International Studies and brings together social theorists from the Sociology Group, political theorists and political sociologists.

This is a lively research group which is in the unique position of being able to offer a social and political theory MA degree from a genuinely interdisciplinary team. The staff within the Social and Political Theory Research Group have a wide range of interests including:

  • The study of democracy and totalitarianism
  • Contemporary feminist debates in social, cultural and political theory
  • Critical theory after Marx and the study of ideology and discourse (including debates about post-structuralism, critical realism and the critical theory of Habermas)
  • New politics of participation, protest and governance.
  • The philosophy of the social sciences (including debates about classical and contemporary pragmatism, realism and social constructionism)

The Social and Political Theory Research Group hold a number of events including research seminars and symposia. The philosophy of the SPT Group is that all graduate students are an important part of the life of the Group’s research and so graduate students are not only encouraged to attend events hosted by the SPT Group but are also supported and encouraged to hold their own events. These range from ‘Brown Bag’ lunch time seminars for students to discuss work in progress through to one day conferences for research students.


Andrew Knops (joint chair)

Richard North (joint chair)

David Bailey

Stephen Bates

Justin Cruickshank

Christopher Finlay

Laura Jenkins

Will Leggett

Richard Shorten

PhD research students:

Nicole Curato
The military and deliberative democracy

Yu-Hung Chang

Stephen Hetherington
The rationales of cultural policy in the UK

For further information about the research group contact:
Andrew Knops: Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2728, Email:
Richard North: Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8214 Email: