Gideon Elford

Departmental Lecturer in Contemporary Political Theory
Political Theory Network
New College

Research summary

Much of my research concerns equality and agency. In that vein a part of my work involves exploring and defending a form of egalitarianism which judges all inequalities in some respect unfair unless they are appropriately related to the choices persons make. Some of this has consisted in reflecting on the conditions under which it is appropriate to hold persons responsible for their choices; more specifically, asking when the responsible choices persons make justify their being worse off than others. Another closely related part of my work involves considering different ways of conceptualising the value of equality and exploring how they related to one another.

My most recent research concerns freedom of expression. I am especially interested in the ways in which freedom of expression can be threatened by sources other than state regulation. At present I am developing an account of the freedom-restricting effects of social penalties on expression. Part of this involves thinking about the responsibilities we may have to refrain from imposing expression-related social penalties and countering the impact they can have on freedom of expression.


My research interests include:

Political Theory, Political thought and ideologies, Rights, Justice, and Equality, Freedom and Choice, International ethics and global justice, Liberalism



Introduction to the Theory of Politics (prelims paper), Theory of Politics (core finals paper), Plato to Rousseau (finals paper)


Political Theory (core MPhil class), Reasoning in Political Philosophy (methods MPhil class), Ethics (methods MPhil class), Research Design Preparation (MPhil/MSc/PRS class)


Raood Ahmed (MPhil)

Thomas Gould (MPhil)

Athol Williams (DPhil)

Gideon Elford