PhD Political Science (Birmingham, 2008)
MA (Distinction) Political Science with Research Methods (Birmingham, 2003)
BA (First Class hons) Political Science (Birmingham, 2002)
Laura Jenkins research and teaching interests operate on the border between political sociology and political theory. Her research is grounded in critical political theory and has utilised work from feminist, phenomenological, post-structural, Frankfurt School and radical democratic traditions. At a very broad level, her research has sought to explore how the personal is political and how strategies can be developed to politicise areas of everyday life often excluded from scholarly political consideration. The main focus of this has been the body and its regulation, social distinctions between normal and abnormal and political identities and judgments upon interests.
Laura is passionate about enquiry-based learning and seeks to provide students with the capacity to examine critically prominent approaches, ideas and debates in political theory and the philosophy of social sciences. Laura is an active member of the British Politics Research Group, the Social and Political Theory Research Cluster and the Political Studies Association
Laura currently teaches POLS 201 Political Analysis at undergraduate level. Her teaching interests include theoretical traditions in Political Science (eg, rational choice theory, institutionalism, feminism, Marxism, critical theory, post-structuralism); political concepts and mechanisms (eg, structure, power, rationality, the state, ideologies, agency) and the application of theory to explain and understand social and political events, behaviour, practices, beliefs, ideas and institutions. Laura has also co-written an article on pedagogical issues concerning ontology and epistemology and is very keen to continue to combine her teaching with her research
Research Groups: British Politics | Social and Political Theory | Political Sociology
Research and academic interests
Contemporary political analysis and theory, in particular, post-structuralism, feminism, critical theory, phenomenology and radical democracy
The Politics of the Body and Life itself (in particular, body modifications and biotechnological developments)
Gender and Identity politics in Britain
Public engagement and political participation
Current and recent research projects
Strategies for Politicisation and the Body: This project explores the political nature of state, medical and social responses to self-starving and self-harming bodies, in particular, and strategies for politicising dimensions of power in everyday life, in general.
Interests and Identity Construction in British Politics: This project explores in depth the theme of how identity politics, particularly concerning gender, is frequently connected to normative judgments on self-interests. The removal of the ‘Fathers Clause’ in UK IVF contracts and the revisions to the UK Female Genital Mutilation Act form the central case studies for this project.
Public engagement, political participation and learning disabilities: This new project combines Laura’s interests in politicisation, the body, normal / abnormal, as well as an emphasis on agency, to research the social and political issues experienced by people with learning disabilities; a group who exhibit low levels of political participation and are most likely to live in poverty.
Jenkins, L, (2010) “The Difference Genealogy Makes: Strategies for Politicisation or How to Extend Capacities for Autonomy”, Political Studies, forthcoming
Bates, S R & L. Jenkins, (2007) “In Defence of Pluralism in the Teaching of Ontology and Epistemology: A Reply to Hay, Marsh and Furlong”, Politics, 27(3), pp.208-211
Bates, S. R. And L. Jenkins, (2007) “Teaching and Learning Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science”, Politics, 27(1), pp.55-63
** Most Read Article in the Journal Politics in 2007/2008**
(2005) “Corporeal Ontology: Beyond Mind-Body Dualism?” Politics, 25(1), pp.1-11
** Awarded the PSA Prize for the Best Paper in the Journal Politics in the Year 2005*