Staff Profile


Professor David Bates

Professor of Contemporary Political Thought

School: School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922388

Profile summary

I am Professor of Contemporary Political Thought and Director of Politics and International Relations

Research and knowledge exchange

I consider that effective learning and teaching at a university level can be delivered only by staff who are making a strong and recognised contribution to their academic field.

My research is focused primarily in the area of contemporary radical political thought. In particular, I am interested in the following areas:

1.    The constitution and refusal of forms of social and political subjectivity.

2.    Artistic practice as a form of political and social refusal.

3.    Transformations of labour in contemporary society, and how this impacts on politics.  

4.    The theoretical understanding of social movements (including anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism, Occupy, etc.) with specific reference to Marxist, post-Marxist, post-anarchist, and autonomist perspectives.

5.    Pedagogy in politics and international relations, specifically as pertains to the ‘engaged curriculum’.

Teaching and subject expertise

The development of innovative learning and teaching is central to my practice. I have over 20 years of experience of teaching in higher education. As Director of Politics and International Relations, a key aspect of my role has been to lead our team in the delivery of excellence in learning and teaching.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). I am keen to develop learning and teaching methods and practices which are innovative, engaging and inclusive. 

I teach at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. My current teaching responsibilities include:


Key Political Thinkers (Level 4)

Contemporary Political Theory (Level 5)

Radical Political Thought (Level 6)


MSc Politics and International Relations (Level 7)

PhD training programme in Politics and International Relations

External activities

My recent activity as part of the highly original and innovative Tate Exchange (Tex) has led to a continued movement of my work in the direction of engaging theory with practice – and developing theory on the basis of this practice.  Tex is a major multi-partner research project over three years (starting in 2017).

The project has generated a number of practice-based outputs. Working with Live Arts Development Agency (London), the Live Artist Kelly Green, students and teachers from Astor College for the Arts, Dover, and Valleys Kids,  (Rhondda Valley, Wales), we produced a number of key live arts interventions reflecting on the idea of ‘exchange’, and on the notion of social abjection. In particular we engaged with the way in which poverty has become – as a result of contemporary media forms – an object to be consumed (e.g. programme titles such as ‘Benefits Street’). These provocations were initially informed by my theoretical work (building on Bates, 2011), which I have developed with Dr Licia Cianetti (Royal Holloway).  Working with the artist Kelly Green they were transformed – in the context of live art workshops in Dover and the Rhondda Valley – into themes with which young people could engage in a visceral fashion.

This resulted in two live art exhibitions at Sydney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, followed by two events at Tate Modern (2017 and 2018).  See:

Publications and research outputs

Bates, D. (2018) ‘Agency’, in B. Franks et al. (eds) Anarchism: Analytical Concepts, London, Routledge, pp. 61- 72.

Bates, D. (2017) ‘Anarchism’, in P. Wetherly (ed) Political Ideologies, Oxford, OUP, pp.   128-158.

Bates, D. Ogilvie, M. and Pole, E. (2016) ‘Occupy: In Theory and Practice’, Critical Discourse Studies, 13. pp. 1-15. (Impact factor: 0.377)

Bates, D. (2016) ‘McLellan, Marx and Method’, in D. Bates, I. MacKenzie and S. Sayers (eds) Marxism, Religion and Ideology, London, Palgrave. pp. 12-31. (Paperback, issued in 2017)


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 03:57:00