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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences
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Professor David Owen BA PhD

Professor of Social and Political Philosophy

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Professor David Owen is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy within the School of Economic, Social and Political Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I am happy to supervise students in the field of European and Anglo-American social and political philosophy, and in the field of migration and refugee studies.

Academic Qualifications 

I am Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton. I have published widely across three main research areas

My current research projects fall into two groups:

My recent books include What do we owe to refugees? (Polity, 2020), Prospects for Citizenship, co-authored with Gerry Stoker et al. (Bloomsbury Academic, 2011), 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 Manchester University Press and of Citizenship Transitions for Palgrave Macmillan. I also serve on the editorial/advisory boards of European Journal of Political Theory, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Max Weber Studies, Political Studies and Political Studies Review. Until recently I was Reviews Editor for Political Theory. I have been Visiting Professor of Politics (2000& 2008) and of Philosophy (2010) at the Goethe University, Frankfurt.

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

Political and Legal Philosophy

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Book Chapters




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
Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 58/3069

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