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Professor Michael Kenny, BA (Cambridge), MA, PhD (Manchester)

Professor of Politics

Tel: 020 7882 5831
Location: Arts One, 2.20A


Michael Kenny

Office Hours: Wednesdays 11am-12pm & Fridays 3-4pm

Professor Michael Kenny is the inaugural Director of the Mile End Institute, a major new policy centre based at Queen Mary, which was launched in February 2015.

Prior to moving to Queen Mary, he held posts at Queen’s University, Belfast, the College of William and Mary in the US, and Sheffield University (where he was appointed Head of Department). He has been awarded Visiting Fellowships at: Wolfson College, Oxford; the Centre for Research into the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge; and, most recently, the Centre for Science and Policy at Cambridge. From September 2012 to August 2014 he held a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship.  Most recently, Michael has been invited to join the Centre on Constitutional Change, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, as one of its Visiting Research Fellows.

He was a founding editorial board member of the journal New Political Economy, serves on the boards of Political Quarterly, Juncture, Contemporary Political Theory, Global Politics and Open Political Science, and was one of the co-editors of the Oxford Handbook of British Politics. He is a former member of the Virtual College of the Economic and Social Research Council and currently sits on the Leverhulme Trust’s Advisory Committee.

Michael has contributed op-ed articles to the Financial Times, Prospect, Juncture, the Guardian, the Independent, New Statesman, Progress, and Conservative Home. He comments regularly on numerous national media outlets, and has given interviews on the BBC’s Today programme, the Westminster Hour, Analysis, Newsnight, Thinking Allowed, and News 24.

View Michael's experts on camera video.

View Michael's seminar on 'Understanding the Re-emergence of the English Question' given at UCL's Constitution Unit on the 8th December 2014



Research interests:

Michael is currently conducting a research project examining the implications for politics and constitutional policy of “English Votes for English Laws”. This work is supported by a Visiting Fellowship he has been awarded by the Centre on Constitutional Change, which is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.

This project builds upon a wide-ranging study of the politics of English nationhood which he completed with the support of a Major Research Fellowship awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, 2012-14. His monograph on this topic, published with Oxford University Press in 2014 – The Politics of English Nationhood – will be issued in paperback in 2016. This book examines the historical and normative dimensions of the transformation of English national identity in British politics. He has also completed a number of journal articles, and delivered numerous talks and keynotes, on this theme.

Michael continues to conduct research into the implications of the English question for public policy and party politics, and is planning further work on the emergence of questions of belonging and identity in British politics and political discourse, and the role that ideas of nationhood have played in the political thought of twentieth-century thinkers and intellectuals in Britain. He has longstanding research interests in public policy, political ideas and the history of modern political thought.

Michael is also the author of the Introduction to the fiftieth-anniversary edition of Edward Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class which Penguin have re-issued in their Modern Classics series.

His other books include The First New Left in Britain, The Politics of Identity and (as co-editor) Rethinking British Decline, Political Ideologies and The Oxford Handbook of British Politics .



The Politics of Nationhood in England: (Oxford University Press, 2014); paperback edition in 2016.

(With P.Diamond) eds, Reassessing New Labour: Market, State and Society under Blair and Brown (Blackwell, 2011)

The First New Left in Britain, 1956-64: British Intellectuals after Stalin (Lawrence  and Wishart, 1995; published in Mandarin by Jiangsu and Phoenix Presses, 2010).

(With M.Flinders, A.Gamble, and C.Hay) eds., The Oxford Handbook of British Politics (Oxford University Press, 2009)

The Politics of Identity: Liberal Political Theory and the Dilemmas of ‘Difference’ (Polity Press, 2004; published in Japanese by Nihon Keizai Hyoron Sha, 2006).

(With M.Festenstein) Political Ideologies: A Reader and Guide (Oxford University Press, 2005).

(With R.Germain) eds., The Idea of Global Civil Society: Ethics and Politics in a Globalizing Era (Routledge, 2004).

(With R.English), eds., Rethinking British Decline (Macmillan, 2000).

(With J. Meadowcroft), eds., Planning Sustainability (Routledge, 2000).

(With R.Eccleshall) Western Political Thought: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings in English Since 1945 (Manchester University Press, 1995).

Chapters in Edited Volumes:

‘Ideological Politics’, in P.Cowley, R.Heffernan, A.Gamble and M.Russell (eds.) Developments in British Politics, forthcoming 2016.

'The English question: Identity, diversity and nationhood in England' in G.Gottrfried and G.Lodge (eds), Democracy in Britain: Essays in Honour of James Cornford (London: IPPR, 2014).

‘Developing a ‘Civic’ Approach to Public Services: Time to Take Pluralism Seriously’, in  S.Griffith, H.Kippin and G.Stoker (eds.), Public Services: A New Reform Agenda (Bloomsbury, 2013).

(With C.Berry) ‘Ideology and the Intellectuals’, in M.Freeden, L.T.Sargent and M.Stears (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies (Oxford University Press, 2013).

‘In Defence of Political Understanding?’, in B.Jackson and M.Stears (eds.) Liberalism in Theory and Practice: Essays for Michael Freeden (Oxford University Press, 2013).

‘Identity, Community and the Politics of Recognition’, in O.Cramme and P.Diamond (eds.), After the Third Way: the Future of Social Democracy in Europe (I.B.Tauris, 2012).

(With G.Lodge and K.Schmuecker) ‘English Questions in a Devolved United Kingdom’, in K.Stolz (ed.) Ten Years of Devolution in the United Kingdom: Snapshots at a Moving Target (Wißner-Verlag, Augsburg 2010).

(With G.Lodge) ‘Time for Some New English Questions?’, in M.Perryman (ed.) The Future of the Union? (Lawrence & Wishart, 2009).

‘Politics as an Academic Vocation’, in M.Flinders, A.Gamble, C.Hay and M.Kenny, eds., The Oxford Handbook of British Politics (Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 3-24.

‘The Birth of a Discipline: British Political Studies in the 1950s and 1960s’, in R.Adcock and M.Bevir, eds., Historicizing the Political: Anglo-American Approaches to a Historical Political Science since 1900 (Princeton University Press, 2006), pp. 158-79.

(With R.Germain) ‘The Idea(l) of Global Civil Society: Citizenship, Ethics and Politics’, in R.Germain and M.Kenny, eds., The Politics of Global Civil Society (Routledge, 2004).

(With A.Gamble) ‘Ideological Contestation, Trans-national Civil Society and Global Politics’, in R.Germain and M.Kenny, eds., The Politics of Global Civil Society (Routledge, 2004).

‘Communitarianism’ in A.Finlayson, ed., Contemporary Political Thought: A Reader and Guide (Edinburgh University Press, 2003), pp 245-309.

‘Stuart Hall’ in A.Elliott and L.Ray, eds., Key Contemporary Social Theorists, (Blackwell, 2002), pp 154-61.

(With R.Germain) ‘Engaging Gramsci: International Relations Theory and the new Gramscians’, reprinted in J.Martin, ed., Antonio Gramsci: Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers (Routledge, 2001).

Journal Articles:

Symposium on The Politics of English Nationhood (with Arthur Aughey, Krishan Kumar and Ben Wellings), British Politics, forthcoming 2016.

(With D.Hexter) ‘Intimations of Michael Oakeshott: Critical Reflections on The Notebooks’, European Journal of Political Theory, forthcoming 2016.

‘Thoughts on Ben Wellings’s English Nationalism and Euroscepticism: Losing the Peace’, British Politics, forthcoming 2016.

‘The Rise of a Political Englishness’, Political Insight, forthcoming Autumn 2015.

‘Roundtable on The Politics of English Nationhood’ (with Matthew D’Ancona, Andrew Gamble and Nick Pearce) Renewal, 22, 1-2, 2014.

The Return of Englishness in British Political Culture’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 53, 1, 2014, pp. 35-51; 

‘A Traditional English (Not British) Country Gentleman of the Radical Left’; Understanding the Making and Unmaking of Edward Thompson’s English Idiom’,  Contemporary British History, 28, 4 (14), 2014, pp 494-516; available here:

‘Englishness Politicised?; unpicking the normative implications of the McKay Commission’,  British Journal of Politics and International Relations, April 2014; available on early view here:

‘Faith, Flag and the ‘First’ New Left: E.P.Thompson and the Politics of ‘One Nation’’, Renewal, 21 (1), 2013. Available in full here

‘The Rise of `The Market' in Political Thinking about Universities’, The European Legacy, 18 (1), 2013, pp 7-23.

‘The Political Theory of ‘Recognition’: the Case of the “White Working Class”’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 14 (1), 2012, pp 19-38.

‘The Many Faces of Englishness: Identity, Diversity and Community in England’, Juncture, 19 (3), 2012, pp 152-59. Available in full here

‘Towards a Progressive Politics of Recognition’, Public Policy Review, 17 (4), 2011, pp 175-82.

‘The Political Theory of ‘Recognition’: the Case of the “White Working Class”’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations (May 2011).  

(With R.English and R.Hayton) ‘Englishness and the Union in Contemporary Conservative Thought’, Government and Opposition, 44, 4, 2009, pp. 343-65.

(With R.English and R.Hayton) ‘Understanding the “New Englishness” in Contemporary British Politics’, Political Quarterly, 78, 1, 2009, pp. 122-35.

(With C.Berry) ‘André Gorz: Freedom, Time and Work in the Post-Industrial Economy’, New Political Economy, 13, 4, 2008, pp 463-74.

‘Britain’s Anti-intellectual Intellectuals: Thoughts on Stefan Collini’s Absent Minds’, Political Studies Review, 6, 1, 2008, pp 1-13. 

‘Introduction: Exploring ‘the Utopian’ in Political Ideologies’, Journal of Political Ideologies 12 (3), 2007, pp 211-17.  

‘History and Dissent: Bernard Crick’s The American Science of Politics’ American Political Science Review, 100, 4, November 2006, pp 547-53.

‘Neither Anglo nor America: the implications of The American Science of Politics for the history of political science’, European Political Science, 5, 2006, pp 150-62.

‘The Case for Disciplinary History: British Political Studies in the 1950s and 1960s', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 6, 2004, pp 565-83.

‘Reckless Minds or Democracy’s Helpers? Intellectuals and Politics in the Twentieth Century’, Contemporary Political Theory, 3, 2004, pp 89-104.

‘Global Civil Society: A Liberal-Republican Argument’, Review of International Studies, 29 2003, pp 119-43.

(With R.English) ‘Public Intellectuals and the Question of British Decline’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 3, 3, 2001, pp 259-83.

‘Isaiah Berlin’s Contribution to Modern Political Theory’, Political Studies, 48, 5, 2000, pp 1026-39.

‘Socialism and the Romantic ‘Self’: the case of Edward Thompson, Journal of Political Ideologies, 5, 1, 2000, pp 105-27.

Select Conference Papers and Lectures:

‘Understanding the Politics of English Nationhood’, lecture to a conference on ‘The Future of the Union: the English Dimension’, at the University of Huddersfield, March 2014.

‘Anglo-Scottish (Mis)understandings and the Future of the Union’, paper to the Department for International Relations, St Andrews University, February 2014.

‘The Return of “Englishness” in British Political Culture – the End of the Unions?’, paper at a conference on ‘British European Policy: Traditions and Dilemmas, at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, November 2013.

‘Anglo-Scottish (Mis)understandings and the Future of the Union’, lecture to the Institute for Research into the Humanities at the University of Dundee, November 2013.

‘Political Expressions of Ethnic-Majority Nationalism – the English under the Microscope’, Dean’s lecture to the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia, October 2013.

‘Political Expressions of Ethnic-Majority Nationalism – the Case of the English’, paper at the Annual Meeting of the Australian Political Studies Association, Perth, Australia, September 2013.

‘Englishness Rising?; the Re-emergence of the English Question in Contemporary Political Discourse and Public Policy  -- McKay and Beyond’, paper to the School of Politics and Sociology at the University of East Anglia, November 2013.

(With H.Kippin) ‘A Civic Approach to Public Service Funding: the Case of Social Care’, presentation to the Institute for Longevity Studies, London, April 2012.

‘The Arts and Humanities: Endangered Species?’, presentation to the Future of the Arts and Humanities conference, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 2011. Watch this talk in full here

‘Towards a Progressive Politics of Recognition’, presentation at a conference on ‘The Cultural Challenges facing Social Democratic Parties in Europe’, organised by Policy Network,  Berlin,  2011.

‘The Politics of Englishness under the Coalition’, paper to the Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association, London, April 2011.

‘What are Universities for? Interrogating the Assumptions of Current and Future Higher Education Policy in the UK’, presentation at ‘The Future University’ conference organised by CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 2010. Watch this talk in full here

‘The ‘National Popular’ in the Thinking of the Early New Left’, paper at a conference on ‘The Naturalisation of Socialism in Britain and China: the Role of the New Left’, at the Department of Philosophy, University of Nanjing, China, 2010.

PhD Supervision

Michael has longstanding research interests in the history of modern British political thought, public policy, the relationship between intellectuals and politics, and ideas of political leadership. He welcomes applications on any of these topics.

Current PhD Students:

Daniel Gover (first supervisor): Religious Groups in the Public Policy Process in Britain

David Hexter (first supervisor): A Critical Examination of the Grounds of Michael Oakeshott’s Advocacy of Civil Association as the only Moral Conception of the State

Baris Tufekci (first supervisor):  The ‘Alternative Economic Strategy’ and the Development of British Socialist Thought 

Public engagement

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