Lois McNay

BA MA Sus, PhD Cantab

Professor of Theory of Politics, DPIR
Fellow, Somerville College
Political Theory Network
Somerville College


Political Theory; Groups, Identities and Social Movements; Political thought and ideologies; Norms, legitimacy and justification; Democratic theory; Feminism, Gender, Identity.

Lois McNay



The Misguided Search for the Political: Social Weightlessness in Democratic Theory (Polity Press: Forthcoming April 2014).

Against Recognition. (Polity Press 2008)

Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory (Polity Press) 2000.

Foucault: A Critical Introduction (Polity Press) 1994.

Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self (Polity Press) 1992. Reprinted 1997.

Articles and Book Chapters

Agency in Lisa Disch and Mary Hawkesworth (eds), Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory. Oxford University Press: Forthcoming.

Suffering, Silence and Social Weightlessness: Honneth and Bourdieu on Embodiment and Power in G. Jagger, K.Lennon and S. Gonzalez-Amal (eds) Embodied Selves. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2013.

The Unbearable Lightness of Theory: Social Weightlessness in Mouffes Radical Democracy in S. Madhok, A. Phillips and K. Wilson (eds) Gender, Agency and Coercion. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2013

Contemporary Critical Theory in Michael Freeden and M. Stears (eds)Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press, 2013

The Politics of Suffering: Foucault contra Honneth in M. Bankovsky and Alice Le Goff (eds) Theories of Recognition and Contemporary French Philosophy: Reopening the Dialogue. Manchester University Press, 2012.

Feminism and Post-Identity Politics: The Problem of Agency, Constellations, (2010) 17(4) .

Self as Enterprise: Dilemmas of Control and Resistance in Foucaults The Birth of Biopolitics, Theory, Culture and Society, 26 (2009), 6, 55-77.

The Trouble with Recognition: Subjectivity, Suffering and Agency Sociological Theory 26 (2008), no. 3.

Recognition as Fact and Norm: The Method of Critique in David Leopold and Marc Stears (eds) Political Theory: Methods and Approaches. Oxford University Press: 2008.

Agency and Experience: Gender as a Lived Relation in The Sociological Review, vol 2, no. 2, pp. 173-190. (Issue Reprinted as L. Adkins (ed) Feminists After Bourdieu: International Perspectives. (Blackwell: 2004).

Situated Intersubjectivity in. B. Marshall and A. Witz (eds) Engendering the Social: Feminist Encounters with Sociological Theory. Open University Press, 2004.

Having it Both Ways: The Incompatibility of Narrative Identity and Communicative Ethics in Feminist Thought, Theory, Culture, and Society, vol 20, no. 6, 2003, pp1-20.

Agency, anticipation and indeterminacy in feminist theory, Feminist Theory, vol 4, no. 2, 2003 pp. 139-48.

Out of the Orrery? Situating Language, Journal of Political Ideologies, vol 8, no. 2, 2003, pp. 139-56.

Communitarians and Feminists: The Case of Narrative Identity, Literature and Theology, vol 16. no 1. March, 2002, pp. 81-95.

Meditations on Pascalian Meditations (Review article 7,500 words), Economy and Society, Spring 2001.

Gender and Narrative Identity, Journal of Political Ideologies, vol. 4 (3), 1999: pp. 315-36.

Agency and Psyche: The work of Judith Butler, Theory Culture and Society (Special Issue on Butler), vol. 16 (2), 1999: pp. 175-93.

Reproduced in Performativity and Belonging (London: SagePublications, in press appearing 2000)

Gender, habitus and the field: Pierre Bourdieu and the limits of reflexivity. Theory, Culture and Society, Vol 16(1), 1999: pp 95-117.

Foucault and Agonistic Democracy in A. Carter and G. Stokes (eds) Liberal Democracy and its Critics (Polity Press, 1998)

Michel de Certeau and the ambivalence of the everyday. Social Semiotics (Special issue on De Certeau), Vol 6(1), June 1996: pp 61-82.

The Problem of the Self in Foucaults Ethics of the Self, Third Text, no. 19, Summer 1992: PP 3-8.

12. The Foucauldian Body and the Exclusion of Experience, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Vol 6 (3), Autumn 1991:PP 125-39.