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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Political Theory


Dr. Camila Vergara is a critical legal theorist, historian, and journalist from Chile writing on the relation between inequality, corruption, and domination, and how to institutionally empower common people to resist oppression from the powerful few. Currently, she is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge conducting research on plebeian constitutional rights. Vergara has published academic articles on corruption and populism in peer-reviewed journals as well as contributed opinion pieces on neoliberalism and the popular uprising in Chile for Jacobin Magazine and Sidecar—New Left Review. She holds a PhD in Political Theory with specialization in Constitutional Law from Columbia University, and has taught political theory courses at New York University, Columbia University and Universidad Diego Portales. Currently she teaches an open-access class in the Escuela Popular Constituyente on Youtube to guide Chileans during the ongoing constituent process.


Other publications: 



Systemic Corruption. Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic. Princeton University Press. República plebeya. Guía práctica para constituir el poder popular. Editorial Sangría. Edited volumes 2017 Machiavelli on Liberty and Conflict, co-edited with David Johnston & Nadia Urbinati. University of Chicago Press.

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)


‘Corruption as Systemic Political Decay’ Philosophy & Social Criticism, 47.3: 322–346.

‘Republican Constitutional Thought: Elitist & Plebeian Interpretations of the Mixed Constitution’ special issue on Republican Studies, History of Political Thought (forth.)

‘Material Anti-Oligarchic Constitutionalism’ REVUS (forth.)

‘Plebeian Populism’ special issue on The People, Democracy, and Populism, Slagmark (forth.)


‘Populism as Plebeian Politics: Inequality, Domination & Popular Empowerment’ Journal of Political Philosophy 28.2: 222–246.

‘The Plebeian People of Populism’ Revue européenne des sciences sociales, special issue, La pensée populiste, 58.2: 77–96.

Book chapters (peer-reviewed)


‘Lenin and the Materialist Critique of Labor Law,’ in The Futures of Lenin. Edited by Alla Ivanchikov & Robert Maclean. SUNY Press

‘Machiavelli's Republican Constituent Power’ in Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy. New Readings, Edited by Diogo Pires Aurélio & Andre Santos Campos. Brill

‘Political Action, Revolutionary Parties and the Transition to a Republic of Councils’ in Rosa Luxemburg: New Perspectives on Life, Works and Impact, edited by Frank Jacob. Karl Dietz Verlag


‘Populism: Plebeian Power against Oligarchy’ in Constituent Power: Law, Popular Rule, and Politics. Edited by M. Arvidsson, L. Brännström & P. Minkkinen. Edinburgh University Press.

‘Crisis Government: The Populist as Plebeian Dictator’ in Mapping Populism: A Guide to Understanding and Studying Populism. Edited by Amit Ron and Majia Nadesan. Routledge

Book Reviews


‘Neoliberalism Has Always Been Precarity Capitalism in the Global South' Review of Albena Azmanova’s Capitalism on Edge. Contemporary Political Theory ‘Imaginando la utopía realizable’

Review of Daniel Ramírez’s Manifiesto para la sociedad futura. El Periodista

‘On the Limits of Elitist Theories of Constituent Power’ Review of Joel Colón-Ríos’ Constituent Power and the Law. Ethics & Politics (forth.) Critical Dialogue between Systemic Corruption and Hélène Landemore’s Open Democracy, Perspectives on Politics (forth.)


Review essay on John McCormick, Reading Machiavelli & Gabriele Pedullà, Machiavelli in Tumult. Constellations 27.2 (June): 316–320.

Review of Mike Gonzalez, In the Red Corner. The Marxism of José Carlos Mariátegui. Theoria 163, 67.2 (June): 106–118.

Press Articles & Non-Academic Publications


‘Our Machiavellian Moment’ Boston Review (January)

‘Burying Pinochet’ Sidecar—New Left Review (January)

‘Chile Confounds’ Sidecar—New Left Review (June)

‘Construyendo un mandato popular: distintos modelos de participación popular para el proceso constituyente’ Intereferencia (July)

‘Desde el análisis discursivo al populismo plebeyo’ Revista Plebeya (September)


‘To Crush Chile’s Popular Uprising, Its Government Is Taking a Page from the Fascist Playbook’ Jacobin Magazine 01/02

‘Apartheid socioeconómico y nueva Constitución’ CIPER 01/22

‘Yendo de la calle al cabildo: vías para un proceso constituyente popular’ CIPER 01/29

‘Inequality, Corruption & Oligarchic Domination’ in Key Questions on Global Inequality Global Inequality Project 08/09

‘Systemic Corruption and the Oligarchic Threat to National Security’ Tax Justice Focus, October 2019

‘The Meaning of Chile’s Explosion’ Jacobin Magazine 10/29

‘Chile Can Be a Laboratory of Popular Democracy’ Jacobin Magazine 11/23

‘Sobre la ley anti-encapuchados y otras adaptaciones legales fascistas’ CIPER 12/26

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