Lois McNay

Fellow & Tutor in Politics; Professor of Theory of Politics; Vice-Principal

Professor McNay’s interests are in continental social and political thought and feminist theory.

She has a particular interest in the work of Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School Critical Theorists.

Professor McNay is currently Vice-Principal of Somerville College. 



The Misguided Search for the Political: Social Weightlessness in Democratic Theory (Polity Press: Forthcoming April 2014).

Against Recognition. (Polity Press 2008)

Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory (Polity Press) 2000.

Foucault: A Critical Introduction (Polity Press) 1994.

Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self (Polity Press) 1992. Reprinted 1997.

Articles and Book Chapters

‘Agency’ in Lisa Disch and Mary Hawkesworth (eds), Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory. Oxford University Press: Forthcoming.

‘Suffering, Silence and Social Weightlessness: Honneth and Bourdieu on Embodiment and Power’ in G. Jagger, K. Lennon and S. Gonzalez-Amal (eds) Embodied Selves. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2013.

‘The Unbearable Lightness of Theory: Social Weightlessness in Mouffes Radical Democracy’ in S. Madhok, A. Phillips and K. Wilson (eds) Gender, Agency and Coercion. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 2013

‘Contemporary Critical Theory in Michael Freeden’ and M. Stears (eds) Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press, 2013

‘The Politics of Suffering: Foucault contra Honneth’ in M. Bankovsky and Alice Le Goff (eds) Theories of Recognition and Contemporary French Philosophy: Reopening the Dialogue. Manchester University Press, 2012.

‘Feminism and Post-Identity Politics: The Problem of Agency’, Constellations, (2010) 17(4) .

‘Self as Enterprise: Dilemmas of Control and Resistance in Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics’, Theory, Culture and Society, 26 (2009), 6, 55-77.

Where Next?