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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Sabbatical and Research Leave 23-24 (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Terms)


Professor Runciman was Head of the Department from October 2014 to October 2018. His Inaugural Lecture on "Political Theory and Real Politics in the Age of the Internet" can be viewed online here

Professor Runciman also hosts the weekly politics podcast "Past Present Future"  and previously hosted "Talking Politics".

He was made a fellow of the British Academy in 2018 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2021.


History of modern political thought, with a particular focus on the history of democracy; theories of the state and political representation; the role of technology in democratic politics; generational and educational divides in contemporary politics.

David Runciman has created the Centre for the Future of Democracy as part of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.  His work in the Centre is focused on democracy for children and young people.

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Key publications: 

Confronting Leviathan: A History of Ideas (Profile Books, September 2021)

Where Power Stops: The Making and Unmaking of Presidents and Prime Ministers (Profile Books, 2019)

How Democracy Ends (Profile Books, 2018).

Politics: Ideas in Profile (Profile Books, June 2014)

The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from the First World War to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2013)

'Hobbes's theory of representation: anti-democratic or proto-democratic?', in Representation and Popular Rule ed. Ian Shapiro and Alexander Kirshner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008)

Representation (with Monica Brito Vieira) (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008)
'The paradox of political representation', Journal of Political Philosophy 15, 1 (2007), pp. 93–114

The Politics of Good Intentions: History, Fear and Hyprocrisy in the New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).

An archive of David Runciman's writing for the London Review of Books is available here:

Sabbatical and Research Leave 23-24 (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter Terms)
Professor of Politics
University Teaching Officer

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