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Dr Graham Smith

Formerly at Lancaster University

Graham Smith

PhD supervision

Anglo-American Political Theory

European/Continental Political Theory

Interdisciplinary work connecting political theory to Philosophy, Religion, and allied subjects

Political Modernity


Order and value

Political ontology

A variety of thinkers including: Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Schmitt.

Current Teaching

Research Interests

My interests are based in Political Thought and cover themes and thinkers from the nineteenth century to contemporary times. I have interests in both the European and Anglo-American tradition. I understand political theory to draw not only from politics, but from related concerns such as philosophy and religion.

In addition to my 'backdrop' interests I have two ongoing research projects which guide my activities. The first focuses on friendship. Friendship was prized by the Greco-Roman thinkers as an idea and ideal to rank alongside justice. It features as a concern for all the major thinkers. This raises the question: What has happened to friendship in Modernity? Moreover, what role can and should friendship play in contemporary political thought? My research explores these questions arguing that we should understand friendship as indicating the affective and moral ties that bind us together to make politics possible. Friendship, then, indicates the horizontal relationships which are often distorted or neglected by an analysis of politics through vertical relations of sovereign and individual power.

My second project focuses on the ideas of order and value. In particular I am interested to explore how politics is a response to the need for order and value in the light of human freedom. Order and value provide us with stability and meaning, whereas human freedom points to a radical instability and (perhaps) even meaninglessness. Thus, this project views the question of political and human ontology as being one of a radical tension of necessity and contingency.

Additional Information


Friendship and the Political: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schmitt. (Imprint Academic: 2011).

'Gopal Balakrishnan: Antagonistics: Capitalism and Power in an Age of War', book review for Capital and Class.

'Friendship and the World of States', International Politics, 48: 1 (2011), pp. 10-27.

'Gopal Balakrishnan: Antagonistics: Capitalism and Power in an Age of War', book review forCapital and Class, 34: 3 (2010), pp. 540-542.

'Friendship and Politics' (with Heather Devere), Political Studies Review, 8: 3 (2010), pp. 341-356.

'Ernst Jünger: On Pain', book review for Capital and Class, 34: 2 (2010), pp. 287-289.

'Kierkegaard, Søren', Encyclopaedia of Political Theory, ed. Bevir, Mark, Sage, (2010).

'Through A Glass, Darkly: The Vision and Visions of Political Theory', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 11: 2 (2009), pp. 360-375.

'Reading Kafka's Trial Politically: Justice-Law-Power', Contemporary Political Theory, 7: 1 (2008), pp. 8-30.

Friendship in Politics (edited with Professor Preston King), Routledge, 2008.

'Kierkegaard: Responsibility to the Other', Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 10: 2 (2007), pp. 181-197.

'Into Cerberus' Lair: Bringing the Idea of Security to Light', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 7: 4 (2005), pp. 485-507.

'Kierkegaard from the Point of View of the Political', History of European Ideas, 31: 1 (2005), pp. 35-60.

Selected Presentations and Conference Papers

'Friendship and Power: Exclusionary Ideals?' presented at Political Studies Association (Edinburgh, 2010).

'Friendship and the World of States' presented at International Studies Association (New Orleans, 2010).

'Friendship and the International Community' presented at IPSA World Congress (Santiago, 2009).

'The Dangers of a Political Friendship: Nietzsche Contra Schmitt' presented at International Studies Association (San Francisco, 2008).

'Friendship and the State' presented at 9th Congres de l'Association Francaise de Science Politique (Toulouse, 2007).

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