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Professor Shane O'Neill
Professor of Political Theory 
(PhD Glasgow)

Contact Details 
25 University Square, Belfast BT7 1PB, Northern Ireland (UK)
Phone: +44 (international) OR 0 (UK) followed by 28 90973683

I am currently on sabbatical leave (until 31 July 2016) having completed an extended term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (April 2009 to July 2015). Prior to that I had been Head of the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy in various subject configurations (August 2001 to March 2009).

Selected Publications

Teaching Areas
Theories of Justice, Equality and Democracy within Nation-States and in the Global Order; Critical Social Theory and Philosophy of the Social Sciences; Violence, Peace and Conflict-Regulation; Politics of Identity and Recognition.

Research Interests
My primary interest is in contemporary moral and political philosophy, specifically in clarifying the demands of justice in the global order and within 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, Axel Honneth and others. With respect to debates concerning the demands of egalitarian justice and democratic legitimacy, both within the state and beyond it, I have interests in the political liberalism of John Rawls and in the work of communitarian, cosmopolitan, Marxist and feminist critics of egalitarian liberalism. 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 struggles against injustice and related demands for recognition, particularly in contexts of national diversity such as Northern Ireland. This interest has led me more recently to examine moral-theoretical questions regarding violence, peace and intervention that arise acutely in the context of struggles against grave injustice. I am currently exploring other uses of critical recognition theory, including its potential as a framework for re-thinking the meaning and implications of a post-secular political culture. 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 been first supervisor of 16 PhD students who have completed dissertations in a range of topics in political theory and critical philosophy.

Recent Publications

  • ‘Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland: A Critical-Theoretical Interpretation’ W B Yeats Lectures 2013 (University of Sao Paulo 2014)
  • ‘Recognition Beyond the State’ in Global Justice and the Politics of Recognition, Anthony Burns and Simon Thompson (eds), (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), pp. 128-142
  • Recognition Theory as Social ResearchInvestigating the Dynamics of Social Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), edited with Nicholas H. Smith.
  • ‘The Politics of Ethno-National Conflict Regulation’ in Recognition Theory as Social Research, Shane O’Neill and Nicholas H. Smith (eds) (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), pp.149-173
  • ‘Humanism and Social Hope’ in Thinking towards Humanity, Eve Garrard and Steve de Wijze (eds) (Manchester University Press 2012), pp. 198-210
  • After the Nation? Critical Reflections on Nationalism and Postnationalism (Palgrave Macmillan 2010), edited with Keith Breen.
  • ‘Struggles against Injustice: Contemporary Critical Theory and Political Violence’ Journal of Global Ethics 6/2 (August 2010), 127-139
  • ‘Recognition and Redistribution in Theories of Justice Beyond the State’ European Journal of Political Theory 29/8 (January 2009) 123-135, with Caroline Walsh
  • Recognition, Equality and Democracy, edited with Jurgen de Wispeleare and Cillian McBride (Routledge 2008).
  • ‘Philosophy, Social Hope and Democratic Criticism’ Critical Horizons 9/4 (December 2008) 93-110
  • ‘Critical Theory and Ethno-National Conflict: Assessing Northern Ireland’s Peace Process as a Model of Conflict Resolution’ Irish Political Studies 22/4 (December 2007) 411-432.