I specialise in critical social theory and the politics of knowledge and culture in the context of modernisation, capitalist development and its attendant violence. My contribution to the discipline includes an innovative account of the role of values and knowleges associated with creativity, vitality and evolution to the constitution of modern political power - primarily set out in Biopolitical Experience: Foucault Power & Positive Critique. This builds on the work of Arendt, Benjamin, Simmel, Deleuze, Grosz and especially Foucault. It also includes collaborative work with the Authority Research Network to establish the interdisciplinary study of ‘emergent authority’, insisting on the continued significance of authority, culture and spirituality for understanding power relations and politics (against the excessive emphasis on technocratic management and science in 'governmentality studies' and much Foucauldian sociology). My work is increasingly focused on issues of political spirituality and exploring intersections between contemporary power and religion.
Areas of Expertise: Post-structuralist and Cultural theory; Foucault; Political sociology; Authority Studies; Capitalism and Religion; Political Spirituality/Spiritual Activism; Biopolitics and Vitalism.
- APT 2016: Biopolitical Matters. June 13-14th (the second APT biannual symposium)
- Ecological Attunment in a Theological Key invited paper at the centre for critical theory, Nottingham November 25th 2015; and at Feminisms Beyond the Secular Lehigh University in March 2016
- APT 2015: Dialogues & Works In Progress / Occupational Hazards: Theories and Methodologies Under Occupation (Palestine/Kashmir) May 7-8 2015
- Emergent Authorities & the Making of the Commons, Joao Pessoa, Brazil 29-30 June
I am interested in supervising PhD projects in my areas of expertise including: social, cultural and political theory (new materialist, post-structuralist and critical theory approaches); political cultures of life; biopolitical racism; Christianity and global politics; authority; political sociology; sociology of culture. I currently co-supervise the following students:
- Sam Burgum 'Occupy London: Post-Politics versus Politics Proper in an Era of Consensus'
- Morteza Hashemi Madani 'Social Theory and the Secular Fundamentalisms'
- Leonardo Vasconcelos de Castro Moreira 'Church without borders: The Universal Church of The Kingdom of God in Madrid, Kiev and Geneva'
- Wonseok Kim 'The Origins and Transformation of ‘Educational Neutrality’ in South Korea after 2000'
- Kathryn Medien 'Writing Oneself: Genealogies of the Western Academic Feminist'
- Seb Rumsby 'Social Factors Affecting Economic Development in Vietnam's Highlands'
I am passionate about teaching sociology. My teaching practice is bound up with my interests as a critical sociologist and social/political theorist - through teaching I strive to foster capacities for agency, critique and collaboration. I teach the following modules:
- Capitalism & Religion - Third year module
- Power, Class and Social Theory - *NEW* Second year module
- Sociological Perspectives - First year core module (co taught with Charles Turner and Nicholas Gane)
- Cultures of Life, Authority & Power in Modernity - MA module (not running in 2015/16)
- Critical Readings in Social Theory - MA module (not running in 2015/16)
- Plenary papers from APT 2014: Power in a World of Becoming Conference
- Immanent Authority & the Making of Community Sympsoium
- Foucault, Biopolitics & Critique - with Mark Carrigan
Research Groups & Leadership
I am committed to building academic community. I actively participate in a number of research networks, arranging events and working towards joint publications. With Leila Dawney (Brighton Geography) I am leading an AHRC research network 'Authority Research Network'. This year, with a number of Warwick colleagues from across the social sciences, I established the Institute for Advanced Studies network 'Authority & Political Technology'.