Department of Political Science


Professor Adam Swift

Adam Swift 2018

Professor Adam Swift

Professor of Political Theory/Political Philosophy

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I joined UCL in 2018. I am a political theorist with some training in sociology. I read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, did an M.Phil in Sociology at Nuffield College, and then returned to Balliol as a Tutorial Fellow before moving to Warwick in 2013. While at Oxford I was Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Justice.  I am an Associate Editor of Philosophy and Public Affairs , an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol, and an Associate Member of Nuffield.

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I have worked on the communitarian critique of liberalism, the relation between public opinion and political philosophy, the normative aspects of class analysis and social mobility, the morality of school choice, the methodological debate around 'ideal' and 'non-ideal' theory, the ethics of family relationships, and the relation between justice, legitimacy and democracy.

You can hear me talking about Family Values on Philosophy Bites and The Philosopher's Zone. You can see me talking about it here.

Currently my main research project is on Faith Schools: Principles and Policies (with Matthew Clayton, Andrew Mason and Ruth Wareham, funded by the Spencer Foundation).

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Click here for my Google Scholar page


This is translated into Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

Edited collection

  • "Social Justice: Ideal Theory, Nonideal Circumstances" (with Ingrid Robeyns), special issue of Social Theory and Practice, 34(3) July 2008


Work in progress

  • 'The Political Morality of School Composition: The Case of Religious Selection' (with Matthew Clayton, Andrew Mason and Ruth Wareham) (under review)
  • 'Justice and Legitimacy in Nonideal Circumstances' (with Zofia Stemplowska)
  • 'Legitimate Filial Partiality'

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I am an Associate Editor of Philosophy and Public Affairs and on the editorial board of Theory and Research in Education, Moral Philosophy and Politics, Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy.

These commitments mean that I am unlikely to accept invitations to referee for other journals.

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Media Expertise

I have appeared on TV, radio and in podcasts ('The Moral Maze', 'The Learning Curve'. 'The Westminster Hour', 'The Philosopher's Zone', 'Philosophy Bites') discussing education policy, the morality of school choice, meritocracy, and the family, and have written on those and other issues for a variety of newspapers and magazines.

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