Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact Details

Dr Graham M Smith

Lecturer in Political Theory

I am a political theorist with a special interest in friendship and how this relates to our understanding of 'the political'. More generally, I have interests spanning from the Ancients to post-modernity, although I am especially interested in 'late-modernity'. My approach to political thought is both open and broad and this allows me to connect its themes and problems to allied fields such as international relations, philosophy, and religion.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the notion of friendship and how this relates to our understanding of the political. I understand friendship to be a concern with the bonds between person and person. These bonds can be located and conceptualised in a variety of ways but they provide the basic fabric upon which the political is woven. I understand the political to indicate a domain of order and value constructed by persons who must negotiate their mutual dependency and freedom.


I teach in the following modules:

  • Freedom Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas
  • Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century
  • Exploring Political Theory: Aristotle and Nietzsche

PhD Supervision

  • Friendship, political bonds, and community
  • 'The political'
  • Order and Value
  • Political Modernity and post-modernity
  • Ancient political thought
  • Modern political thought
  • Contemporary Anglo-American and European political theory
  • Inter/Cross-disciplinary political thought

Key Publications

  • Confronting Secularism (co-edited with Brian Black and Gavin Hyman), Bloomsbury (2014).
  • Friendship and the Political: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Schmitt, Imprint Academic, (2011). 
  • Friendship in Politics: Theorizing Amity In and Between States (ed. with Professor Preston King), Routledge, (2008).
  • ‘Friendship, State and Nation’, Friendship and International Relations, eds. Koschut, S. and Oelsner, A. (2014)

  • ‘Kierkegaard, Søren’, Encyclopaedia of Political Theory, ed. Bevir, Mark, Sage, (2010).

  • ‘Friendship: An Unanswered Question’, AMITY: The Journal of Friendship Studies, 1:1 (2013).
  • 'Friendship and the World of States’, International Politics, 48:1 (2011), pp.10-27.
  • ‘Friendship and Politics’, (with Heather Devere), Political Studies Review, 8:3 (2010), pp.341-356.
  • ‘Through a Glass, Darkly: The Vision and Visions of Political Theory’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 11:2 (2009), pp.360-375.
  • ‘Reading Kafka's Trial Politically: Justice-Law-Power’, Contemporary Political Theory, 7:1 (2008), pp.8-30.
  • ‘Kierkegaard: Responsibility to the Other’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 10:2 (2007), pp.181-197.
  • ‘Introduction’ (with Preston King), Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 10:2 (2007), pp.125-145.
  • ‘Into Cerberus’ Lair: Bringing the Idea of Security to Light’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 7:4 (2005), pp.485-507.
  • ‘Kierkegaard from the Point of View of the Political’, History of European Ideas, 31:1 (2005), pp.35-60.

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