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Prof Patrick Joyce - research

Research interests

Specific research interests:

See my official personal website:

On this site you will find find information on my work, past and present, much downloadable material, and blog and discussion options

I am presently writing a book on the nature of the British state from the early 19th century onwards. This has the title, The Soul of Leviathan: Political Technologies of the Imperial British State. I am also co-editing a book with Tony Bennett called Material Powers; History, Cultural Studies and the Material Turn, Routledge, 2010. Past and Present is publishing my "The necessity of social history:putting the social back in social history" in early 2010. This advocates a new social history and is a critique of cultural history in the light of  the new material history. For details see

I have published work on the following topics: the history of popular politics, popular culture, the nature and meanings of work, the history and theory of individual and collective social identities, the history and theory of the social, mercantile philanthropy, and liberalism and the city, the latter particularly in relation to governmentality. 

I am also interested in theory and the writing of history, having written on the subject of history and postmodernism and other topics.

Current research projects: downloads on

My current book on the liberal state  includes its colonial dimensions, especially India, and draws on a number of disciplinary fields as well as history, including science studies and governmentality studies. It involves consideration of the material and ethical fashioning of bureaucracy, extending into work on the forms and content of classics study and teaching, also of the history of the public school and the Oxbridge college. This research also involves the material forms of state formation in terms of communication systems, in particular the history of the British Post Office. 

My current research activities are  therefore in the interdisciplinary, but especially historical, study of liberalism, governance and the state.  I am also interested in urban history, and Irish history, especially the history of the Irish in Britain.

I am actively involved as a research convener in the ESRC-funded Centre for the Study of Sociocultural Change (CRESC, see This entails collective work in the theme of liberalism, citizenship and governance, with a concentration on material and ethical practices of government: states, cities and markets.  This involves recent and forthcoming publications on the new cultural materialisms, the assembly of liberal subjects, and culture, liberalism and governance.  At the LSE I am organising, summer 2009, a seminar series called "Understanding freedom".