Social and political thought (2016 entry)

Subject overview

  • Research in social and political thought is interdisciplinary, bridging the conventional divides between social theory, political philosophy, and the history of social and political thought, and between empirical and normative analysis.
  • The particular research strengths of the Centre for Social and Political Thought are in the following areas:
    • social theory, especially Marxism, Hegel, hermeneutics and critical theory 
    • recent democratic, socialist and environmentalist thought and practice 
    • history of political, social and economic thought 
    • philosophy of social science and the sociology of knowledge 
    • contemporary political philosophy 
    • cosmopolitanism.
Centre for Social and Political Thought

The Centre is the organisational base for research associated with social and political thought. A major dimension of the Centre’s research is critical social theory. ‘Europeanness’ is an important part of its identity. The Centre is also the home of the European Journal of Social Theory

At the heart of the Centre’s intellectual activity is the postgraduate/faculty research seminar in social and political thought, at which internal and visiting speakers present papers. All MA and research students are welcome. 

There is also a work-in-progress seminar run by research students, at which they present papers for discussion. We have other occasional seminar series and Studies in Social and Political Thought, our own in-house journal, is published by a group of students and faculty. It offers an ideal opportunity for our students to publish their work. 

The Centre brings together research students and faculty at Sussex who are interested in the interactions between the explanatory, normative and ideological dimensions of social and political thought. The Centre has sponsored conferences on The Future of Critical Social Theory, Social Democracy: Current Ideological Directions, Environmentalism and Critical Realism, Reconstructing Human Rights, and Europe since 1989. Members have also organised conferences on The Good Life, The Direction of Contemporary Capitalism, Hegel: History and Politics, and The Life and Work of Edward Said, as well as graduate conferences every year since 2002. 

The Centre has special links with the Social Theory Centre at the University of Warwick, with which it organised a major series of seminars on Social Theory and Major Social Transformations and with which it jointly publishes the journal Papers in Social Theory. Faculty have links with a variety of scholars in Europe and North America and often invite colleagues to give papers at Sussex. 

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Programmes

  • PhD in Social and Political Thought
  • MPhil in Social and Political Thought

Research courses may be pursued on a full-time or a part-time basis and take the form of an MPhil or a PhD. There is wide-ranging supervisory expertise available from faculty in the fields of politics, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, international relations, and history. We have a large and active body of research students from a variety of intellectual and international backgrounds.

Coursework 

Although our MPhil and PhD courses consist primarily of independent directed research, students often participate formally or informally in MA modules. If you do not already have a relevant MA or equivalent, we may require you to take one or more MA modules in your first year. We offer a wide range of research training modules for students. If you have not completed comparable research training elsewhere, you are required to take some of these modules.

Recent and current thesis titles 

Adorno and film

Arendt and Foucault

Benjamin and Kafka

Benjamin’s materialism

Bureaucratisation and reformism in social democracy

Collective intentionality

Communitarianism in current political discourse

Darwinism, homosexuality and the left

Gender and the social construction of whiteness

Habermas and religion

Hegel on freedom

Intellectual origins of New Labour

Justice, community and singularity

Justice, difference and feminism

Marcuse and the new social movements

New forms of participatory democracy

Paternalistic legislation

Regional modernities: UK and Denmark

Sartre and political philosophy

The concept of fetishism

Trotsky and the state

Also visit Department of Philosophy: Guidelines for writing a research proposal

Entry requirements

MPhil in Social and Political Thought

UK entrance requirements

A Masters degree, or its equivalent, in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

PhD in Social and Political Thought

UK entrance requirements

A Masters degree, or its equivalent, in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

Visas and immigration

Find out more about Visas and immigration.

For more information about the admissions process at Sussex

For pre-application enquiries:

Student Recruitment Services
T +44 (0)1273 876787
E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

For post-application enquiries:

Postgraduate Admissions,
University of Sussex,
Sussex House, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877773
F +44 (0)1273 678545
E pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk 

Related subjects

Fees and funding

Fees

MPhil in Social and Political Thought fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

PhD in Social and Political Thought fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

Find out more about fees

Visit Living costs

Scholarships

The sources of financial support listed below are for the subject area you are viewing and may not apply to all degrees listed within it. Please check the description of the individual source of financial support to make sure it is relevant to your chosen degree.

Visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2016

Visit Career development and part-time work

We are in the process of updating funding sources for postgraduate study in the academic year 2016/17. For general information, visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2016.

For more information on scholarships go to the Scholarships web pages.

Faculty interests

The main research areas of our faculty include: 

  • Marx, Hegel, normative foundations of social criticism, recognition theory 
  • intellectual history, philosophy of history, historiography 
  • Italian political theory and history, history of the left 
  • German social theory, critical social theory 
  • Habermas, Adorno, discourse ethics, moral theory 
  • poststructuralism 
  • philosophy of social science 
  • civil society and contemporary politics 
  • cosmopolitan theory, globalisation 
  • cultural and historical sociology of modernity 
  • the European cultural and political heritage. 

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Prof David Berry
Professor of Digital Humanities
D.M.Berry@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Algorithms, Code, Computation, Critical Digital Humanities, Critical Reason, Critical Theory, Digital Humanities, History of the University, Philosophy, Political economy, Post-digital, postdigital, Social and political theory, Software Studies, University

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Dr Anthony Booth
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
A.R.Booth@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Applied Philosophy, Epistemic Normativity, Epistemology, Ethics, Ethics of Belief, Gettier Cases, Islamic Epistemology, Philosophy Of Mind

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Dr Andrew Chitty
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
A.E.Chitty@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Collective action, collective intentionality, constructivism in ethics, Ethics, Fichte, Hegel, Marxism, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, political theory, recognition theory

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Prof Gerard Delanty
Professor of Sociology & Social & Political Thought
G.Delanty@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: capitalism, Cosmopolitanism, democracy, historical and political sociology, history and philosophy of the social sciences, modernity, Nationalism, Social and political theory, the european cultural and political heritage

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Dr Gordon Finlayson
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
J.G.Finlayson@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Critical Theory, German Philosophy, Habermas, Hegel, History Of Philosophy, Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy

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Prof Robert Iliffe

ri33@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: environmental history, history of religion, History of science, Isaac Newton, material culture and science, relations between science and religion

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Dr Tarik Kochi
Senior Lecturer
T.Kochi@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Critical Legal Theory, Critical Theory, Hegel, History and Theory of War, History of political economy, History of Political Thought, International Law, International Political Theory, Jurisprudence/Philosophy Of Law, Social and political theory

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Dr Darrow Schecter
Reader in Critical Theory
D.Schecter@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Critical Theory, critique of instrumental reason, Foucault, Gramsci, legitimacy, Libertarian socialism, Pasolini, systems theory

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Dr Kenneth Veitch
Senior Lecturer
K.J.Veitch@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: health care law, medical law, obligation, Social policy, Social Theory, Socio Legal Studies, sociology of law, Welfare state

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Careers and perspectives

Many of our graduates have gone on to successful careers in research and teaching, the media, and non-governmental organisations. Over the last 30 years, a substantial number of leading academics in the UK and elsewhere have graduated from our research degrees.

To find out more, visit Careers and alumni

Research training

The University’s Doctoral School runs a wide range of training courses covering the needs of students throughout all phases of their studies.

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School and contacts

Contact us

Dr Kathleen Stock, 
Arts A, University of Sussex, Falmer, 
Brighton BN1 9QN, UK 
T +44 (0)1273 873119 
E k.stock@sussex.ac.uk

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