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Diana Coole

Professor of Political and Social Theory

About Professor Diana Coole

  • BA (Wales) MSc (LSE) PhD (Toronto)
  • Leverhulme Research Fellow, 2010-2013
  • Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences [AcSS]
  • Member of RAE sub-panel 39 for RAE 2008.
  • Director of MSc in Population, Migration and Ecology (starting 2014/15) and Head of Department, 2014/15

Research interests

  • My broad area of research is modern and contemporary political and social theory.  My work here has focused primarily on the critical theory of the early Frankfurt School and its influences (Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber), existential phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty in particular), poststructuralism (especially Foucault) and feminism.
  • Within this broad field, I've recently become more interested in developing a flexible critical theory (that includes genealogy, deconstruction, the phenomenology of everyday – and visceral– life, interpretive public policy, discourse analysis, ideology critique and radical political economy) and applying it to current social and political issues.
  • During 2010-13 I held a Senior Leverhulme research fellowship to investigate a project called `Too many bodies? The Politics and Ethics of the World Population Question'. The research undertaken has helped spawn a new MSc programme, launched - with Prof. Eric Kaufmann - in 2014/15, called The Politics of Population, Migration and Ecology.
  • Please note that as I am now retired I am no longer supervising PhD students. If you are interested in pursuing research in any of these areas, you should first read our advice on how to apply for MPhil/PhD research before submitting an application.

Principal Publications


    • Should We Control World Population? (John Wiley & Sons)
    • Women in Political Theory. From Ancient Misogyny to Contemporary Feminism SECOND EDITION (Hemel Hempstead, Harvester-Wheatsheaf & Colorado, Lynne Rienner, 1993) pp.273
    • Negativity and Politics. Dionysus and Dialectics from Kant to Poststructuralism (London & New York, Routledge, 2000) pp. 272
    • Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-Humanism ( Lanham MD, Rowman and Littlefield, 2007)
    • Edited with S. Frost: The New Materialisms. Ontology, Agency and Politics (Duke University Press, summer 2010)

    Selected Articles

    • 'The Politics of Reading Nietzsche', Political Studies vol.46 no.2 (June 1998), pp.348-363
    • 'Threads and Plaits or an Unfinished Project? Feminism(/s) through the Twentieth Century', Journal of Political Ideologies vol.5 no.1 (Feb 2000) pp.35-54
    • 'Cartographic Convulsions: Public and Private Reconsidered', Political Theory vol.28 no.3 (June 2000), pp.497-514
    • 'Thinking Politically with Merleau-Ponty', Radical Philosophy 108 (July/Aug 2001), pp. 17-28.
    • 'Philosophy as Political Engagement: Revisiting Merleau-Ponty and Reopening the Communist Question', Contemporary Political Theory vol.2.3 (October 2003) pp.327-350.
    • 'Rethinking Agency: A Phenomenological Approach to Embodiment and Agentic Capacities', Political Studies vol. 53 (March 2005), pp.124-142
    • 'Dialectical Critical Realism and Existential Phenomenology: A Dialogue', New Formations vol. 56 (summer 2005) pp. 121-132
    • 'Agency, Truth and Meaning: Judging the Hutton Report', British Journal of Political Science vol. 35 (July 2005) pp.465-485
    • 'Experiencing Discourse: Gendered Styles and the Embodiment of Power’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations vol. 9.3 (2007), pp. 413-433
    • 'Butler’s Phenomenological Existentialism’, in T. Carver and S. Chambers eds, Judith Butler’s Precarious Politics: Critical Encounters (London & New York: Routledge, 2008)
    • 'Repairing Civil Society and Experimenting with Power: A Genealogy of Social Capital’, Political Studies vol. 57.2 (2009), pp. 374-396.
    • `Reconstructing the Elderly: A Critical Analysis of Pensions and Population Policies in an Era of Demographic Ageing’, Contemporary Political Theory 11.1 (2012), pp. 41-67.
    • `Population Growth in the UK: An Issue for Political Debate and Policy Intervention?’ Politics 32.1 (2012), pp. 21-30.
    • `Too Many Bodies? The Return and Disavowal of the Population Question’, Environmental Politics vol. 22.2 (2013), pp. 195-215.
    • `Agentic Capacities and Capacious Historical Materialism: Thinking with the New Materialisms in the Political Sciences’, Millennium- Journal of International Studies vol. 41.3 (2013), pp. 451-469.
    • `Gender, Gesture and Garments. Encountering Embodied Interlocutors’ in Jude Brown ed., Ethics, Dialogue and Identity (Cambridge: CUP 2013), pp. 173-197.

    Editorial Boards

    • Cultural Critique
    • Theory and Event
    • Journal of Contemporary Political Theory
    • European Journal of Political Theory
    • Co-editor for the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought (forthcoming 2012)

Diana Coole

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 6782 (direct line) or
+44 (0)20 7631 6780


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