Clare Woodford
  • OAv, 10-11 Pavilion Parade

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Clare Woodford is Principal Lecturer in Political Philosophy in the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE)  School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Brighton; director of the CAPPE Critical Theory research group strand; School Doctoral Studies Lead; and Principal Director for the AHRC Wellbeing State Research Network. She has published widely on democratic theory, the politics of care, aesthetics, ethics, equality, extremism, transnational populism, UK politics and policy. Her book Disorienting democracy: politics of emancipation (2017, Routledge) juxtaposed Rancière’s thought with that of Butler, Cavell, Menke and Derrida to draw out the practical implications of Rancière’s writing for emancipatory political strategising. Her collaboration with Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler, and Bonnie Honig, Towards a Feminist Ethics of Nonviolence (co-edited with Tim Huzar, 2021, Fordham) brings these thinkers into conversation with other leading feminist and gender theorists to argue that we need to attend more carefully to political infrastructural organisation if we are to construct a less violent world.

Clare's work currently falls under two broad themes 1) evaluating how we might strengthen democracy to oppose authoritarianism, extremism, and right wing populism via a reworking of the democratic welfare state in the 21st C language of wellbeing; 2) understanding the role of affect (e.g. love, rage, grief) in contemporary movements for social justice, both online and in the streets.

Clare’s research is primarily motivated by concern about the relationship between inequality and violence and unrest and how we can design feasible but socially just policies to respond to these in advanced capitalist democracy. Working at the interstices of ethics, aesthetics, poststructuralism, democratic, and gender theory, she is fascinated by concepts of social order and disorder; finitude and the edges of being and knowledge; the inter-play of faith, reason, perception, belief and action; and the varied ways in which social animals communicate with one another and both make themselves (or fail to make themselves) understood and how we seek (or fail to seek) to understand others.

Clare welcomes inquiries for doctoral research and is available to supervise PhDs in any area related to her work. Please email enquiries to

Current PhD funding opportunities:



Future Societies


Supervisory Interests

I currently supervise in the areas of radical democratic theory; the ethics and politics of care; populism; the politics of property; post-Marxism; poststructuralist thought; queer theory and sexualities; and social policy (housing, welfare, wellbeing, work), but will consider applications across any area of my work. Successful applicants join CAPPE's thriving Critical Theory research community and benefit from our international exchange programme and research network with Johns Hopkins; Berkeley, UoC; NUI Galway; PoliTesse/Arendt Centre, Verona; University of Buenos Aires; University of Recife; and UNAM. Current competitive funding opportunities are available through University of Brighton; AHRC ; ESRC  and Future Societies.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Democracy, subjectivity and voice: Emersonian Perfectionism and radical democracy., University of Southampton

Award Date: 10 Sept 2010

External positions

Reviewer Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, Fonds National de la Recherche

12 Mar 2021 → …

Philosophy Chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council

1 Jan 2019 → …

Reviewer, DAAD

1 Jan 2019 → …

Member, AHRC Techne Peer Review College

1 Sept 2018 → …

Co-editor, Rowman and Littlefield Int.

4 Jan 2016 → …

AHRC Peer Review College

1 Jan 20161 Jan 2021

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy, UK

15 Mar 2014 → …


  • JC Political theory
  • democracy
  • ethics
  • aesthetics
  • queer theory
  • equality
  • poststructuralism
  • critical theory
  • continental thought
  • populism
  • authoritarianism
  • wellbeing
  • Welfare
  • Policy and Planning


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