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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
On Sabbatical leave returning 31 July 2016

Selected Publications
QUB Research Portal (Pure)

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, 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 Northern Ireland. I am currently exploring 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 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.