Dr Chris Lyon

Dr Chris Lyon

International Development Department
Teaching Fellow in Politics of Development

Contact details

IDD - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Chris Lyon's research interests are at the meeting point between political theory and global development, and also involve related issues in the philosophy of social science and research methodology. In his teaching career to date, he has largely taught on the politics of development, critical approaches to poverty, and research methods and theory.


PhD Global Development and Political Theory, 2018, University of Manchester


Chris took a somewhat unusual route to international development, studying philosophy and music at Edinburgh, but became interested in development and international politics through activism in the area of UK asylum policy. His PhD, at the University of Manchester (graduated January 2018) was “Towards a relational approach to social justice: liberals, radicals, and Brazil’s ‘new social contract’.” Following this he worked as a Research Associate for Manchester’s ‘Effective States and Inclusive Development’ research centre, and then as a teaching fellow, before joining Birmingham in October 2021.


  • Global Development Challenges (1st year UG)
  • International Development (MSc)
  • Development Politics (MSc)
  • Democracy, Dictatorship, and Development (MSc)
  • Personal Academic Tutoring


Research interests

A long-term and on-going research focus, on the theoretical side, concerns critical extensions of the relational egalitarian theory of justice, and related questions of social ontology, and of applications to non-ideal theory and development ethics. Chris is also interested in the normative basis of the current turn towards politically realist approaches to development. More practically, he is interested in social policy, in private vs. public education, and in institutional experiments in democratisation, particularly in Brazil and Uganda, stemming from previous fieldwork and teaching.

Current projects

Chris is currently writing up work in the above areas for publication.


Recent publications


Lyon, C 2022, 'Can social groups be units of normative concern? Normative individualism, futurity, causality, social ontology', Social Theory and Practice, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 553-581. https://doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract202191135


Lyon, C 2018, COMENTARIOS A “¿DISTRIBUCIÓN O RECONOCIMIENTO?". in P Aguayo Westwood (ed.), RECONOCIMIENTO,JUSTICIA Y DEMOCRACIA: Ensayos sobre John Rawls. Cenaltes, Santiago, pp. 119-135. <https://www.cenaltesediciones.cl/index.php/ediciones/catalog/book/27>

Book/Film/Article review

Lyon, C 2018, 'Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: The Capability Approach Re-Examined', Journal of Development Studies, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 330-331.

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