Social Sciences: Politics & International Relations

David Owen


Primary position:
Head of the Division of Politics & International Relations
Other positions:
Professor of Social & Political Philosophy


The University of Southampton

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.

Professor David Owen's photo

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

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The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


Owen, David (2013) Citizenship and the marginalities of migrants. [in special issue: The Margins of Citizenship] Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 16, (3), 326-343. (doi:10.1080/13698230.2013.795702).
Owen, David (2012) Constituting the polity, constituting the demos. Ethics and Global Politics, 5, (3), 129-152. (doi:10.3402/egp.v5i3.18617).
Owen, David (2012) Transnational citizenship and the democratic state. [in special issue: Democratic Citizenship and its Futures] Critical Review in Social and Political Philosophy, 14, (5), 641-663. (doi:10.1080/13698230.2011.617123).
Owen, David (2011) Must the tolerant person have a sense of humour? On the structure of tolerance as a virtue. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 14, (3), 385-403. (doi:10.1080/13698230.2011.571879).
Owen, David (2011) Must the tolerant person have a sense of humour? Critical Review in Social and Political Philosophy (In Press).
Owen, David (2011) National responsibility, global justice and transnational power. Review of International Studies, 36, (S1), 97-112. (doi:10.1017/S0260210511000118). (In Press).
Smith, Graham and Owen, David (2011) Machiavellian democratic innovations: McCormick’s people’s tribunate. The Good Society, 20, (2), 203-215. (doi:10.5325/goodsociety.20.2.0203).
Owen, David (2008) Nietzsche’s Genealogy revisited. [in special issue: Nietzsche and Contemporary Politics] Journal of Nietzsche Studies , 35/36, Spring Issue, 141-154. (doi:10.1353/nie.0.0028).
Owen, David (2005) On genealogy and political theory. Political Theory, 33, (1), 110-120. (doi:10.1177/0090591704263572).
Owen, David (2003) Nietzsche, re-evaluation and the turn to genealogy. European Journal of Philosophy, 11, (3), 249-272. (doi:10.1111/1468-0378.00186).
Owen, David (2003) Culture, equality and polemic. Economy and Society, 32, (2), 325-340. (doi:10.1080/0308514032000073473).
Owen, David (2003) The contest of enlightenment: an essay on critique and genealogy. Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 25, 35-57.
Owen, David and Ridley, Aaron (2003) On fate. International Studies in Philosophy, 35, (3)
Owen, David (2002) Equality, democracy and self-respect: Nietzsche's agonic perfectionism. Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 24, 113-131.
Owen, David (2002) Criticism and captivity: on genealogy and critical theory. European Journal of Philosophy, 10, (2), 216-230. (doi:10.1111/1468-0378.00158).
Owen, D. and Johansson, T. (2002) Interpretation, Verstandlichkeit and die Grenzen einer Phanomenologie der Moral. Deutsche Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie, 50, (4), 567-580.
Owen, David (2001) Wittgenstein and genealogy. SATS: Nordic Journal of Philosophy, 2, (2)
Owen, Daniel and Bentley, Russell (2001) Ethical loyalties, civic virtue and the circumstances of politics. Philosophical Explorations, 4, (3), 223-239. (doi:10.1080/10002001098538718).
Owen, D. (2000) Is there a doctrine of will to power? International Studies in Philosophy, XXXII, (3)
Owen, David (1999) Political philosophy in a post-imperial voice. Economy and Society, 28, (4), 520-549. (doi:10.1080/03085149900000016).
Owen, D. (1997) Foucault, Habermas and the claims of reason. History of the Human Sciences, 9, (2), 119-138.
Owen, David (1994) Agonal thought: reading Nietzsche as a political thinker. Angelaki. Journal of Theoretical Humanities, 1, (3), 119-128.
Owen, D. (1992) The judgement of Nietzsche: philosophy, politics, modernity. History of the Human Sciences, 5, (3), 121-135.
Owen, D. (1991) Foucault, psychiatry and the spectre of dangerousness. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 2, (3), 238-241.


Stoker, Gerry, Mason, Andrew, McGrew, Anthony, Armstrong, Chris, Owen, David, Smith, Graham, Banya, Momoh, McGhee, Derek and Saunders, Clare (2011) Prospects for citizenship, London, GB, Bloomsbury Academic Press, 208pp.
Owen, David (2007) Nietzsche's genealogy of morality , UK, Acumen Press, 192pp.
Laden, Anthony Simon and Owen, David (2007) Multiculturalism and Political theory, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 432pp.
Owen, David (2007) Nietzsche’s genealogy of morality, Stocksfield, UK, Acumen Publishing, 192pp.
van den Brink, Bert and Owen, David (2007) Recognition and power in contemporary social and political theory, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press
Owen, David and Strong, Tracy B. (eds.) (2004) Max Weber: the vocation essays: "science as a vocation", "politics as a vocation", Indianapolis, USA, Hackett, 176pp.
Brewster, Scott, Joughin, John J., Owen, David and Walker, Richard J. (eds.) (2000) Inhuman reflections: rethinking the limits of the human, Manchester, UK, Manchester University Press, 256pp.
Ashenden, Samantha and Owen, David (1999) Foucault contra Habermas: recasting the dialogue between genealogy and critical theory, London, UK, Sage, 224pp.
Owen, David (ed.) (1997) Sociology after Postmodernism, London, UK, Sage Publications Ltd, 228pp.
Owen, David (1995) Nietzsche, politics and modernity: a critique of liberal reason, USA, Sage Publications, 192pp. (Philosophy and Social Criticism).

Book Section

Owen, David (2011) Foucault, Tully and agonistic struggles over recognition. In, Bankovsky, M. and Goff, Le (eds.) Recognition Theory and Contemporary French Moral and Political Philosophy. Manchester, GB, Manchester University Press, 133-165. (In Press).
Owen, David (2010) Nietzsche and analytic philosophy. In, Gemes, K. and Richardson, J. (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche. Oxford, GB, Oxford University Press. (In Press).
Owen, David (2010) Responsibilities of justice. In, Niesen, P. (ed.) Gerechtigkeit, Demokratie, Inklusion: Motive aus dem Werk von Iris Young. Baden-Baden, DE, Nomos. (Submitted).
Owen, David (2010) Genealogy. In, Bevir, Mark (ed.) SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Theory. London, GB, Sage. (In Press).
Owen, David (2010) Dilemmas of inclusion. In, Nash, K. (ed.) Transnationalizing the Public Sphere. Cambridge, GB, Polity Press. (In Press).
Owen, David (2009) Transnational citizenship – migration and membership. In, Stoker, Gerry, Armstrong, Chris, Mason, Andrew D., McGrew, Anthony, Owen, David and Smith, Graham (eds.) Prospects for Citizenship. , Bloomsbury Academic.
Owen, D. (2009) Resident aliens, non-resident citizens and voting rights: towards a pluralist theory of transnational political equality and modes of political belonging. In, Calder, Gideon, Cole, Phillip and Seglow, Jonathan (eds.) Citizenship Acquisition and National Belonging: Migration, Membership and the Liberal Democratic State. Basingstoke, GB, Palgrave Macmillan, 52-73. (Migration, Minorities and Citizenship).
Owen, David (2009) Autonomy, self-respect and self-love: Nietzsche on ethical agency. In, Gemes, Ken and May, Simon (eds.) Nietzsche on Freedom and Autonomy. Oxford, GB, Oxford University Press.
Owen, David (2009) The expressive agon: on political agency in a constitutional democratic polity. In, Schaap, Andrew (ed.) Law and Agonistic Politics (Edinburgh Centre for Law and Society). , Ashgate, 71-86.
Owen, David (2008) Nietzsche, ethical agency and the problem of democracy. In, Siemens, Herman W. and Roodt, Vasti (eds.) Nietzsche, Power and Politics. , De Gruyter, 37-68. (doi:10.1515/9783110217339.2.143).
Owen, David (2007) Self-government and "democracy as reflexive co-operation": reflections on Honneth's social and political ideal. In, van den Brink, Bert and Owen, David (eds.) Recognition and Power. Axel Honneth and the Tradition of Critical Social Theory. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 290-320.
Owen, David and Tully, J. (2007) Redistribution and Recognition: Two Approaches. In, Laden, A. and Owen, D. (eds.) Multiculturalism and Political Theory. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 265-291.
Owen, David (2006) Perfectionism, parrhesia and care of the self: Cavell and Foucault on ethics and politics. In, Norris, A. (ed.) The Claim to Community: Essays on Stanley Cavell and Political Philosophy. , Stanford University Press.
Owen, D. (2006) Nietzsche rhetorical therapies. In, Ricks, S. (ed.) Reading Nietzsche at the Margins. , SUNY Press. (In Press).
Owen, David (2003) Genealogy as perspicuous representation. In, Heyes, Cressida J. (ed.) The Grammar of Politics: Wittgenstein and Political Philosophy. , Cornell University Press, 82-98.
Owen, David (2003) Democracy. In, Bellamy, Richard and Mason, Andrew (eds.) Political Concepts. , Manchester University Press.
Owen, D. (2001) Democracy, perfectionism and 'undetermined messianic hope'. Cavell, Derrida and the ethos of democracy-to-come. In, Nagl, Ludwig and Mouffe, Chantal (eds.) The Legacy of Wittgenstein: Pragmatism or Deconstruction. Oxford, UK, Peter Lang.
Owen, David (2001) The avoidance of cruelty: joshing Rorty on liberal irony. In, Festenstein, Matthew and Thompson, Simon (eds.) Richard Rorty: Critical Dialogues. Oxford, UK, Polity Press, 93-110.
Owen, David and Ridley, Aaron (2000) Dramatis personae: Nietzsche as cultural physician. In, Schrift, Alan D. (ed.) Why Nietzsche Still? Reflections on Drama, Culture, and Politics. Berkeley, USA, University of California press.
Owen, David (2000) "Postmodern" political sociology. In, Nash, Kate and Scott, Alan (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Oxford, UK, Basil Blackwell. (Blackwell Companions to Sociology).
Owen, David (1999) The inhuman, the all-too-human and the overhuman. In, Brewster, Scott, Joughin, John J., Owen, David and Walker, Richard J. (eds.) Inhuman Reflections: Rethinking the Limits of the Human. Manchester, UK, Manchester University Press.
Owen, David (1999) Orientation and enlightenment. In, Ashenden, Samatha and Owen, David (eds.) Foucault contra Habermas: recasting the dialogue between genealogy and critical theory. London, UK, Sage, 21-44.
Owen, D. (1998) Nietzsche, enlightenment and the problem of Noble ethics. In, Lippitt, J. (ed.) Nietzsche's Futures. International Fifth Annual Conference: Nietzsche and the Future of the Human London, UK, Palgrave Macmillan.


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.


Head of PAIR
REF Champion
Exams Officer (semester 1)

Teaching Responsibilities

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
SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/3069

Telephone: (023) 8059 4743