skip to content

Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

College: Robinson


I am Junior Research Fellow in the History of Political Thought at Robinson college. Prior to joining the University of Cambridge, I was Fellow in Political Theory at the London School of Economics. I received my PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2017 and I hold degrees from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), the LSE and the Università di Trieste.


My primary research interests include the history of nineteenth and twentieth century political thought, political theory, and constitutional theory. My work explores the variety of ways in which the principle of popular power has been articulated during the French Revolution and after. My first book, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, offers a history of the language of constituent power in relation to ideas of national and popular sovereignty. It mainly focuses on how Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès’ first theorisation of pouvoir constituant has been used and misused by subsequent theorists, among whom Carl Schmitt, legal scholars in the post-war period, and Hannah Arendt. In my next research project, I aim to explore how nineteenth century debates about plebiscites travelled into the twentieth century in Europe. 


Key publications: 


Constituent Power: A History”, Cambridge University Press, 'Ideas in Context' series, forthcoming March 2020



“Elites, democracy and parties in the Italian Constituent debates, 1946-1947”, part of the special issue on Parties, Elites and Democracy, Constellations, forthcoming.

“Costantino Mortati and the idea of material constitution”, History of Political Thought, Vol. 40, Issue 3, 2019, 515-546

“Sieyes versus bicameralism”, The Review of Politics, Vol. 8, Issue 2, 2019, 255-279

“Taming sovereignty: constituent power in nineteenth century French political thought”, History of European Ideas, Vol. 44, Issue 1, 2018, 60-74

“How to think beyond sovereignty: Emmanuel Sieyes on constituent power”, European Journal of Political Theory, April 2016, 1-21

“Il potere del popolo nelle democrazie contemporanee”, Introduction and Editor of the Special issue of Rivista di Politica, 4/2016, 26-32, with F. Brandmayr and R. Pereira


Book chapters:

"Of post-men and democracy” book chapter in Xavier Márquez (ed.), Democratic Moments: Reading Democratic Texts, Bloomsbury Academic, 2018, 97-105

“Sieyes e l’idea del potere costituente della nazione”, book chapter in Alessandro Campi, Francesco Tuccari, Stefano de Luca (eds.), Nazioni e Nazionalismi: Teorie, interpretazioni, sfide attuali, Historica, 2018, 97-105.


Book Reviews:

“L’historie de la souveraineté populaire et Brexit”, review of Tuck, R., The Sleeping Sovereign (CUP, 2016), Revue Française de Science Politique, March 2018, 21-22.

Junior Research Fellow in the History of Political Thought at Robinson college
Dr Lucia  Rubinelli

Contact Details