Dr Andrew Knops

Dr Andrew Knops

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Lecturer in Sociology
Departmental Extenuating Circumstances Officer

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Andrew lectures in Sociology. His interests lie broadly in political sociology, especially the theory and practice of democracy, although he also teaches research methods. Andrew came to Birmingham as a research fellow in 2000, and was appointed as a lecturer in 2002.


BA Law (Cantab); D/Phil Social Policy (York)


Andrew took a BA in law at Cambridge University and trained as a barrister. He then worked as a Welfare Rights Officer in Islington. During this time he was an active member of the Child Poverty Action Group and the anti-Poll Tax campaign. Andrew subsequently studied for an MA which he 'rolled over' into a D/Phil at the University of York. While completing his D/Phil Andrew did a stint as a part-time researcher with the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, where he contributed to developing Scottish deprivation data to inform the new Scottish Executive. Andrew came to Birmingham in 2000 as a research fellow on the ESRC-funded project, 'Power, Participation and Democratic Renewal.' He was appointed to a lectureship in Sociology in 2002, and, along with colleagues from that Department, moved to POLSIS in 2010.


Andrew convenes the third year undergraduate module 'Divided Publics', the second year 'Social Research Methods 2' and the first year 'Social Divisions' modules.

Postgraduate supervision

Andrew is keen to supervise students on the following areas: the theory and / or practice of deliberative democracy (in specific contexts or more generally), active citizenship, political participation and open government. He is particularly keen to supervise research in these areas that focuses on groups that are seen as oppressed or marginalised.


Andrew is currently working on theories of democracy. Within this he focuses on deliberative approaches. He has worked on their relation to agonistic versions of democracy; the  potential of pragma-dialectical models of argument to develop normative and empirical aspects of deliberation, and the relation between debates on structure and agency in social theory and deliberative principles. An important dimension in all these concerns is the role that theories of language - especially pragmatic theories - can play in sharpening our conception of deliberation.

Andrew is an Associate of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, now based at the University of Canberra, Australia. He has been a visiting fellow at the Centre from August 2005 to September 2006, and from June – August 2012, when it was based in the Research School for Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra. Andrew spent February 2016 as a visiting fellow at the Democracy and Reasoning project in the Department of Political Science and Contemporary History, University of Turku, Finland.


Knops, A. (2017) ‘Validity and scope as criteria for deliberative epistemic quality across pluralism’ Social Epistemology. 31(3): 340-350.

Knops, A. (2016) ‘Deliberative networks’ Critical Policy Studies. 10(3): 305-324. 

Knops A. (2015) ‘A Strategic-relational Account of Language Use, Discourse and Reason’ Critical Discourse Studies 12(1): 1-19.

Knops, A. (2011) 'Representing collective reasons for group decisions:the judgement aggregation problem revisited' Journal of Theoretical Politics 23(4): 448-462.

Knops, A. (2007) ‘Agonism as Deliberation: On Mouffe’s Theory of Democracy’ Journal of Political Philosophy 15(1): 115-126.

Knops, A. (2006) ‘Delivering Deliberation’s Emancipatory Potential’ Political Theory 34(5) October: 594-623.

Newman J., Barnes M., Sullivan H. and Knops, A. (2004) ‘Public Participation in Collaborative Governance’ Journal of Social Policy, 33(2): 203-223.

Barnes, M., Knops, A., Newman, J. and Sullivan, H. (2004) ‘The Micro-politics of Deliberation: Case Studies in Public Participation’ Contemporary Politics 10(2) June: 93-110.

Barnes, M., Sullivan, H., Knops, A. and Newman, J. (2004) ‘Power, Participation and Political Renewal: Issues from a Study of Public Participation in Two English Cities’ Institute for Development Studies Bulletin 35 (2) April: 58-66.

Barnes, M., Newman, J, Knops, A. and Sullivan, H. (2003) ‘Constituting ‘the Public’ in Public Participation’ Public Administration 81(2) June: 379-399

View all publications in research portal