Professor Shane O'Neill

Professor Shane O'Neill

Dean of Faculty
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor of Political Theory
(PhD Glasgow)

Contact Details
Room 23.G01
tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 5006      
Curriculum Vitae

Teaching Areas

Contemporary Political Theory; Philosophy of the Social Sciences; Politics of Diversity and Recognition.

Research Interests

My primary interest is in contemporary moral and political philosophy, specifically in clarifying the demands of justice and outlining conditions of democratic legitimacy in modern pluralist societies. This has led me to engage with several influential theoretical perspectives particularly within the tradition of critical social theory as developed by Jürgen Habermas, Iris Marion Young, Axel Honneth and others. With respect to debates concerning the demands of egalitarian justice, both within the state and beyond it, I have been interested in the political liberalism of John Rawls and in the work of libertarian, communitarian, cosmopolitan, Marxist, feminist and post-structuralist critics of Rawls’s approach. I am also exercised by philosophical questions regarding the nature of the social sciences and the possibility of a critical interrogation of the political world, and in the various ways in which social hope feeds into such research. Over a number of years I have sought to develop a normative-theoretical perspective on demands for recognition, particularly in contexts of national diversity such as that of Northern Ireland. I am currently exploring (in part through an ESRC seminar series project I am leading) other uses of recognition theory, including its potential as a framework for re-thinking the meaning of secularism in contemporary politics. My general outlook is informed both by the concerns of analytical political theory, and those of ‘continental’ philosophical traditions, especially critical theory and hermeneutics. I have supervised many dissertations in a range of topics in political theory and critical philosophy and am currently first supervisor for five PhD students.

Recent and Selected Publications

  • ‘Philosophy, Social Hope and Democratic Criticism’ in Political Theory and Social Hope, Special Issue of Critical Horizons (forthcoming 2008), edited by Shane O’Neill and Nicholas H. Smith
  • ‘Critical Theory and Ethno-National Conflict: Assessing Northern Ireland’s Peace Process as a Model of Conflict Resolution’ in Recognition, Equality and Democracy: Normative Perspectives on Irish Politics, Special Issue of Irish Political Studies (2007), edited by Jürgen de Wispeleare, Cillian McBride and Shane O’Neill
  • ‘Are Moderators Moderate?’ Politics (2005), with John Garry and Alan J. McCool
  • ‘Critical Theory, Democratic Justice and Globalization’ Critical Horizons (2005)
  • 'Normative Theory and Constitutional Politics' Ethnicities 4/4 (2004)
  • 'The Equalization of Effective Communicative Freedom' Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence (2004)
  • 'Justice in ethnically diverse societies' Ethnicities (2003)
  • 'Are National Conflicts Reconcilable?' Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory (2003)
  • 'Constitutional Reason and Political Identity' Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (2001)
  • ‘Mutual Recognition and the Accommodation of National Diversity: Constitutional Justice in Northern Ireland’ in Multinational Democracies, Alain-G. Gagnon and James Tully (eds) (Cambridge University Press 2001)
  • ‘Cultural Justice and the Demands of Equal Citizenship’ Theoria (2000)
  • 'The Politics of Inclusive Agreements: towards a Critical Discourse Theory of Democracy' Political Studies (2000)
  • 'Liberty Equality and the rights of Cultures; the marching controversy at Drumcree'  British Journal of Politics and International Relations (2000)
  • ‘Private Irony and the Public Hope of Richard Rorty’s Liberalism’ in Public and Private: Political, Legal and Philosophical Perspectives, Maurizio Passerin d’Entrèves and Ursula Vogel (eds), (Routledge 2000)
  • Reconstituting Social Criticism: Political Morality in an Age of Scepticism (Palgrave/ Macmillan and St.Martin’s Press 1999), edited with Iain MacKenzie
  • Contemporary Social and Political Theory: An Introduction (Open University Press 1999), co-authored with Fidelma Ashe, Alan Finlayson, Moya Lloyd, Iain MacKenzie and James Martin
  • ‘An Exchange on Impartiality’: Stanley Fish, ‘Are There Reasons for Self-Revision?’ and Shane O’Neill, ‘Self-Revision and the Demands of Justice’, Jurist: Books-in-Law 1/7 (1998)
  • Impartiality in Context: Grounding Justice in a Pluralist World (State University of New York Press 1997)
  • ‘The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus in Northern Ireland’ Irish Political Studies (1996)
  • ‘Tensions in Rawls’s Liberal Holism’ Philosophy and Social Criticism (1996)
  • ‘Pluralist Justice and Its Limits: The Case of Northern Ireland’ Political Studies (1994)
  • ‘Morality, Ethical Life and the Persistence of Universalism’ Theory, Culture and Society (1994)