We explore the complex and multiplying connections between political theory,
social problematization and public policy. Embracing normative, critical and
empirical perspectives, and focussing on different levels of governance, we
bring together diverse voices in teaching, research and public engagement.
Our members share a concern with the diagnosis of pressing social and
political issues, as well as their analysis and evaluation through a range
of contemporary theories and styles.
What we do
We have a unique plural and transdisciplinary focus on the study of public
policies and controversies, using a range of critical and normative idioms of
analysis. Our research underpins evidence-based policy analysis and evaluation.
We have close ties with Essex Business School, the
Department of Sociology, the School of Law, the
Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies and
Philosophy, in the School of Philosophy and Art
History. We also provide links between research and education by actively
integrating our students in research projects, hosting seminars, academic visits
and working with other institutions.
International Advisory Board members
Professor William Connolly (John Hopkins University, USA)
- Professor Frank Fischer (Rutgers-Newark, USA)
Professor Maarten Hajer (University of Amsterdam, Director of the
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Netherlands)
- Professor Francis Chateauraynaud (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales,
Professor Paula Casal (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)
Current and recent projects
A range of our projects are funded by the European Commission, the Science
Research Council, and the Economics and Social Research Council.
- The issue of climate change and environmental justice.
- Problematizing pluralism and religious toleration.
- The emergence and resolution of public controversies in the policy process,
especially the intersection between economic growth, transport and the
- Groups, movements and representation in civil society.
- Critical political economy, the role of markets, and occupational justice in
- The ethics of policy, especially in the fields of health, environment, and
the arms trade.
- The use of biometrics for identification, issues of personal privacy and
data protection, and the future of identity management.
theory papers in the University of Essex Research Repository.
Throughout the year, we host seminars, workshops and conferences. The date
and time of our events this term are to be confirmed.
Study with us
We have close ties to courses in our Department of
Government, in political theory, ideology and discourse analysis, and public
If you'd like to know more about the work we do, or have any questions,
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.