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Social Sciences: Politics & International RelationsPart of Social Sciences
(023) 8059 4743

Professor David Owen BA PhD

Professor of Social & Political Philosophy

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Professor David Owen is Professor of Social & Political Philosophy within Social Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I am happy to supervise students in the areas of contemporary European and Anglo-American social and political philosophy.

Academic Qualifications
1989 PhD Durham University
1985 BA Durham University


I am Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton. I have published widely across three main research areas: Nietzsche and post-Kantian critical theory encompassing post-structuralism and the Frankfurt School); Problems of Political Community addressing issues of multiculturalism and migration; and Democratic Theory ranging from foundational to policy-relevant levels of analysis. My current research projects address the structure of agonist political theory and its relationship to perfectionism and realism, and the ethics and politics of migration and transnational citizenship.

My most recent books are Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality (Acumen, 2007) and two co-edited volumes Multiculturalism and Political Theory (Cambridge University Press 2007) and Recognition and Power (Cambridge University Press, 2007). I am co-editor of the Critical Powers book series for Bloomsbury Academic and of Citizenship Transitions for Palgrave Macmillan, and Book Reviews Editor for the journal Political Theory. I also serve on the editorial boards of Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Max Weber Studies and Political Studies Review. In recent years I have been Visiting Professor of Politics (2008) and of Philosophy (2010) at the Goethe University, Frankfurt.

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Research interests

I have wide-ranging research interests across the history of political thought and contemporary analytic and continental social and political theory, however, my current research is focused in two areas. The first addresses the ethics and politics of migration encompassing issues such as the ethical status of borders, a state’s right to exclude, obligations due to immigrants and to emigrants, the moral and political status of refugees, and with particular reference to the development of transnational citizenship and the ways in which migration is reshaping the citizenship regimes of states. The second research topic takes up the relationship of agonism, perfectionism and realism in Nietzsche’s work and considers the disparate paths that these themes follow post-Nietzsche – realism through Max Weber, Raymond Aron, Bernard Williams; agonism through Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and contemporary agonists such as Connolly, Honig and Tully; perfectionism through Stanley Cavell and Michel Foucault. This project asks how we may put these elements back together again.

Two future research projects: the first takes up the idea of a genealogy of freedom, provisionally entitled Freedom’s Others, which addresses the topic of freedom by historically tracking the development of its others (slavery, captivity, destitution, conformity and insecurity) and the second, provisionally entitled, What is Re-Orientation in Thinking?, takes up the ways in which political theory seeks to engage and alter the orientation of its audiences.

Research group(s)

Political and Legal Philosophy



Book Section(s)

Political Theory [PAIR1001] for UGs.
The Ethics and Politics of Migration [PAIR…] for UGs and [PAIR..] for PGTs.
Philosophy of Social Science Research [RESM6001] for PGTs & PGRs.
MSc Supervision
PhD Supervision

Research Supervision
I am very happy to supervise students in the fields of political philosophy – analytic, post-structuralist and Frankfurt School – and of political theory with particular reference to democratic theory, multiculturalism, migration and citizenship. Please contact me if you want to discuss a proposal for postgraduate research.

Professor David Owen
Politics & International Relations Social Sciences University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/3069

Telephone: (023) 8059 4743

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