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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Michael is inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Before he arrived in Cambridge, Michael held positions at: Queen’s University, Belfast; the University of Sheffield, where he was appointed Head of the Department of Politics; and Queen Mary University of London, where he was the inaugural Director of the Mile End Institute.

He served on the Leverhulme Trust’s Advisory Committee (2010-2018), was co-director of the British Academy’s “Governing England” programme (2015-2018), and is currently a visiting Fellow at the UCL Constitution Unit and a member of the advisory board of the Constitution Society.

He also serves on the scientific advisory panel for the ‘Behaviour Change by Design’ project funded by the Wellcome Trust, and the Management Board of the Centre for Sustainable Leadership, and is a senior advisor to ‘The Science of Global Risk’ project funded by the Templeton Foundation. In 2021 he was made a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of the Social Sciences.

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Public policy; governance; territorial politics; British politics and political ideas.

He is currently involved in research projects exploring: the territorial implications of Brexit (as part of the ESRC-funded ‘Between Two Unions: the constitutional futures of the islands after Brexit’ programme); the policy dilemmas associated with ‘left behind communities’; the politics of expertise in public policy; and the implications of behavioural science for public policy. He is currently writing a book about the remaking of the British state and different potential constitutional futures for the UK.


Key publications: 




(With I.McLean and A.Paun (eds)) Governing England (Proceedings of the British Academy, 2018).

(With N.Pearce) Shadows of Empire: the Anglosphere in British Politics (Polity, 2018).

The Politics of English Nationhood (Oxford University Press, 2014); winner of the UK Political Studies Association’s ‘Mackenzie’ prize for best book in political studies.

(With M.Flinders, A.Gamble, and C.Hay) eds., The Oxford Handbook of British Politics (Oxford University Press, 2009).

The Politics of Identity: Liberal Political Theory and the Dilemmas of ‘Difference’ (Polity Press, 2004).

(With R.English) Rethinking British Decline (Macmillan, 1999).

The First New Left in Britain, 1956-64: British Intellectuals after Stalin (Lawrence and Wishart, 1995).




(With D.Luca) ‘The urban-rural polarisation of political disenchantment: an investigation of social and political attitudes in 30 European countries’, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, early view, July 2021:  

‘Governance, Politics and Politicals Economcy – England’s Questions after Brexit, Territory, Politics, Governance, early view, July 2021: Governance, politics and political economy – England’s questions after Brexit: Territory, Politics, Governance: Vol 0, No 0 (

(With L.Aqui and N.Pearce) ‘“The Empire of England”: Enoch Powell, Sovereignty and the Constitution of the Nation’, Twentieth Century British History, early view, July 2020:

(With J.Sheldon) ‘When Planets Collide: the British Conservative Party and the Discordant Goals of Delivering Brexit and Preserving the Domestic Union, 2016–2019’, Political Studies, early view, June 2020:

(With J.P.Reynolds, M.Archer, S.Piling, G.J.Hollands, and T.M.Marteau) ‘Public Acceptability of Nudging and Taxing to Reduce Consumption of Alcohol, Tobacco and Food: a Population-based Survey Experiment’, Social Science and Medicine, 236, 2019.

(With D.Gover) ‘Answering the West Lothian Question? A Critical Assessment of ‘English Votes for English Laws’ in the UK Parliament, Parliamentary Affairs, 71, 4, 2018, pp. 760-82.


‘Back to the Populist Future?; Nostalgia in Contemporary Ideological Discourse’, Journal of Political Ideologies, 22, 3, 2017, pp. 256-73. 

‘The Politicisation of Englishness: towards a framework for political analysis’, Political Studies Review, 14, 2016, pp. 325-34.

‘The Return of Englishness in British Political Culture’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 53, 1, 2014, pp. 35-51. 

‘A Traditional English (Not British) Country Gentleman of the Radical Left’; Understanding the Making and Unmaking of Edward Thompson’s English Idiom’,  Contemporary British History, 28, 4 (14), 2014, pp 494-516

‘Englishness Politicised?; unpicking the normative implications of the McKay Commission’,  British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 17, 2015 pp. 152-70.

‘History and Dissent: Bernard Crick’s The American Science of Politics’,  American Political Science Review, 100, 4, 2006, pp 547-53.

‘Isaiah Berlin’s Contribution to Modern Political Theory’, Political Studies, 48, 5, 2000, pp 1026-39.

‘Politics as an Academic Vocation’, in M.Flinders, A.Gamble, C.Hay and M.Kenny, eds., The Oxford Handbook of British Politics (Oxford University).




Teaching and Supervisions


Currently on sabbatical. 

Research supervision: 

Currently on sabbatical. 

Inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy
University Teaching Officer
Fellow, Fitzwilliam College

Contact Details

Email address: