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Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science
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Dr Jonathan Havercroft PhD

Associate Professor in International Political Theory

Dr Jonathan Havercroft's photo

Jonathan Havercroft is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton.  He teaches in the areas of political theory and international relations. He is the editor of the journal Global Constitutionalism.  

Research interests

Havercroft’s research focuses on three main areas:

  • Drawing on methodological approaches from history and philosophy, Havercroft is interested in historically sensitive analysis of core political concepts such as sovereignty, liberty, and anarchy. 
  • Havercroft is interested in normative arguments about political violence with a special focus on riots.
  • Finally, he studies the foundational principles of global order with a special interest in how these principles are contested across time and space.

Havercroft is currently engaged in two major research projects. The first, building on his long standing interest in politics and the philosophy of language, is a book length monograph on Stanley Cavell’s political philosophy of democratic perfectionism. This book argues that Cavell’s philosophy provides conceptual resources for responding to our era of post-truth politics. It develops an original interpretation of Stanley Cavell as a theorist of democratic perfectionism. By placing Cavell’s writings in conversation with political theorists on debates about the social contract, interpretive methods, democratic theory, and political aesthetics Stanley Cavell’s Democratic Perfectionism cultivates modes of responsiveness that can help us resist democratic backsliding.

His second project research combines normative theorizing with an empirical analysis of recent riots. These riots include the 2011 riots in England in response to the police shooting of Mark Duggan, the anti-Police violence riots in the U.S in 2014 and 2015, the G20 riots in Germany in 2017, and recent ANTIFA riots in the U.S. confronting the Alt-Right since the election of President Trump. By comparing different types of recent riots, the study asks the following questions: How do we distinguish riots from other forms of collective political action such as demonstrations, civil disobedience, and armed rebellion? Can a riot ever be justified? If so what particular kinds of grievances might justify rioting? The first essay from this project, “Why is there no just riot theory?” won the Brian Barry Prize in Political Science from the British Academy. Havercroft is currently on a year-long fellowship from the British Academy to undertake additional research on this topic.

Havercroft’s research has been published in journals including the British Journal of Political ScienceInternational Studies Quarterly, Political Theory, Polity, Review of International Studies, Journal of International Political Theory, Global Constitutionalism, Social Sciences Quarterly, Constellations, and Alternatives. His monograph Captives of Sovereignty was published by Cambridge University Press. He has held fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada), the Canadian Department of National Defence Security and Defence Forum, and the British Academy.

Research group

Political and Legal Philosophy

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Book Chapters



International Relations Theory UG PAIR 2001
One World, Many Theories PG PAIR 6001
Introduction to Security Studies PG PAIR 6002

MSc Supervision
PhD Supervision

Dr Jonathan Havercroft

Politics & International Relations, Social Sciences, University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 58/3077

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