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Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • Deputy Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities


Professor Alan Finlayson's research combines contributions to the development of democratic political and cultural theory with the theoretical and historical analysis and interpretation of the ideologies that shape British political culture, political economy and 'governmentality'. As part of this work he has developed particular expertise in the theoretical and practical study of political rhetoric, a field which - in the form of Rhetorical Political Analysis - he has done much to establish within British Political Studies. In this context he oversees the website British Political Speech.

Prof. Finlayson is currently PI on the AHRC funded research project Political Ideology, Rhetoric and Aesthetics in the Twenty-First Century: The Case of the 'Alt-Right'. This is a three-year research project examining how new technologies are transfoming the ways in which political ideas are formed and circulated and how this affects our relationship with our political beliefs and with their argumentative expression.

Alan is an associate Editor of the journal Contemporary Political Theory; Chair of the Editorial Board of Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy; co-editor of the Palgrave book series Rhetoric, Politics and Society; co-founder and Treasurer of the Rhetoric and Politics Group of the UK Political Studies Association and a member of the International Task Force of the Rhetoric Society of America. He has contributed political commentary and analysis for print, broadcast and online media including The Guardian, Open Democracy and The London Review of Books.  


2012 - Present:       Professor of Political and Social Theory, UEA

2000 - 2011:           Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader, Department of Politics and International   

                              Relations, Swansea University

1992 - 1999:           Teaching Fellow and Lecturer, School of Politics, The Queen’s University of Belfast

Honorary Appointments:

2003:                       Visiting Professor, Department of Speech Communication, University of Southern

                                Illinois, USA

2008:                       Visiting Lecturer, Centre for Theoretical Studies, Essex University

2008:                       Visiting and Guest lecturer , University of Jyväskylä, POLITU Doctoral Course:   

                                Rhetoric of Governments, Parliaments and Movements

2011:                       Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick






Key Research Interests and Expertise

Alan’s research is particulalry concerned with the theory, history and practice of political rhetoric. Combining this with theories and methods of discourse analysis he studies the form, content, organisation, technologies, governance, effects and significance of political speech and communication practices. He also works in 'the political theory of ideologies', studying the historical and contemporary ways in which ideas shape the politics, culture and ideologies of British Politics. In addition to these areas he also works on wider issues in contemporary social and political theory, particularly theories of radical, pluralist or agonistic democracy.

Key Responsibilities

Prof. Finlayson is Deputy Associated Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Contemporary Political Theory
  • Co-Editor Rhetoric and Politics Book series, Palgrave
  • Member, International Task Force, Rhetoric Society of America. 2011-present
  • Treasurer, Rhetoric and Politics Specialist Group. 2010-present
  • Convenor, Poststructuralism and Radical Politics Specialist Group. 2000-2010

Teaching Interests

Professor Finlayson teaches on a range of undergraduate courses including those concerned with classical and contemporary social and political theory and with political communication.