Students Staff

Department of Government

Centre for Theory, Policy and Society

University of Essex

Our centre

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.

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 environment.
  • Groups, movements and representation in civil society.
  • Critical political economy, the role of markets, and occupational justice in contemporary societies.
  • 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.

See political theory papers in the University of Essex Research Repository.

Our events

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 policy.

Contact us

If you'd like to know more about the work we do, or have any questions, contact us at