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Dr Keith Breen

Senior Lecturer in Political and Social Theory
(PhD Edinburgh)

Contact Details
Room 023.03.004
tel: ++44 (0) 28 9097 3349

QUB Research Portal (Pure)

Teaching Areas
Contemporary Political Theory; Social Theory; Introduction to Political Theory (Perspectives on Politics)

Research Interests
My general research areas are contemporary political and social theory, the current focus of my research being questions of political ethics and philosophies of work and economic organization. My other research interests include theories of modernity and intersubjectivity, in particular the socio-political thought of Max Weber, Hannah Arendt, Jürgen Habermas and Alasdair MacIntyre, and theories of war and justice, with an emphasis on the Just War tradition and its critics.

Research Supervision
Just War theory
Communitarianism and virtue ethics
The ethics of terrorism and paramilitary justificatory discourses
The work of Alasdair MacIntyre
Critical theory and Habermasian discourse ethics
Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy
Max Weber’s conception of modernity
Global justice and cosmopolitanism
Philosophies of work and economic organization
I would be very happy to consider research proposals in the above or related areas.

Research Grants

British Academy Conference Grant, 2007 -  £2,000
Community Relations Council, Northern Ireland, Community Relations and Cultural Diversity Grant, 2007 - £4,000

Recent/Selected Publications

  • (2012) Under Weber’s Shadow: Modernity, Subjectivity and Politics in Habermas, Arendt and MacIntyre (Ashgate). 264 pages. See:

  • (2012) ‘Production and Productive Reason’, New Political Economy, DOI:10.1080/13563467.2012.656081 (22 pages, 12,000 words). Available at:

  • (2012) ‘Law beyond Command? An Evaluation of Arendt’s Understanding of Law’, in Goldoni, M. and McCorkindale, C. (eds) Hannah Arendt and the Law (Hart Publishing), pp.15–34. See:

  • (2010) with O’Neill, S., ‘A Postnationalist Era?’, in Breen, K. and O’Neill, S. (eds) After the Nation? Critical Reflections on Nationalism and Postnationalism (Palgrave), pp.1–18. See:

  • (2010) ed. with O’Neill, S., After the Nation? Critical Reflections on Nationalism and Postnationalism (Palgrave). See:

  • (2009) ‘Agonism, Antagonism, and the Necessity of Care’, in Schaap, A. (ed.) Law and Agonistic Politics (Ashgate), pp.133-146. See:

  • (2007) ‘Work and Emancipatory Practice: Towards a Recovery of Human Beings’ Productive Capacities’, Res Publica, Vol. 14, No.1, pp.381–414.

  • (2007) ‘Violence and Power: A Critique of Hannah Arendt on the “Political”’, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 33, No.3, pp.343–372.

  • (2005) ‘The State, Compartmentalization and the Turn to Local Community: A Critique of the Political Thought of Alasdair MacIntyre’, The European Legacy, Vol. 10, No.5, pp. 485–501.

  • (2004) ‘A Review of Erik O. Eriksen and Jarle Weigård, Understanding Habermas: Communicative Action and Deliberative Democracy’, German Politics, Vol. 13, No.1, pp.152–153.

  • (2002) “Alasdair MacIntyre and the Hope for a Politics of Virtuous Acknowledged Dependence,” Contemporary Political Theory, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 181–201.

  • (2002) ‘On the Brink of a New Great Transformation? A Review of Jürgen Habermas’ The Postnational Constellation and The Liberating Power of Symbols’, Contemporary Political Theory, Vol. 1, No. 1.