Patrick Joyce (3)Patrick Joyce writes about the history of power and social relations in Britain and elsewhere from the 18th century onwards. He works chiefly on the state, the city, and the nature of freedom and liberalism down to contemporary times. This website gives you information about who he is, and about his past, current and future work.

Current activity: 1. with Colin Gordon I organize a study group called “Foucault, political life and history”. The group considers neoliberal and postcolonial governmentalities as well as the history and current state of the political. The group met 2015-6 at the LSE and the Institute of Historical Research and meets 2016-7 solely at the IHR. Details of topics and speakers for 2015-6 may had here  and current and future activity at tbc.

2. I am writing a book combining history, memoir and reflection provisionally called “The house, the road and the grave: a history of my times”. Two sections of this have appeared in Field Day Review as “The Journey West”, in Field Day Review, 10, 2014 and “Time Thickens, takes on flesh: the Other West” in  Field Day Review 11, 2015. See on the right for a download of both essays.

Welcome to this website. I am a historian who is also interested in the social sciences. I am a Honorary Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, and an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Manchester.  In Spring 2015 I was a Long Room Hub Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. I have in recent times been a Visiting Professor at the LSE, Univ. of California Berkeley, and the European University Institute in Florence. The principal areas of academic work I am interested in are: freedom and liberalism; the nature of the state; power and materiality.

Two interviews about my work as an historian, conducted by the Universities of Padua and Bologna Cultural History Centre, 2009, are available on video, “Patrick Joyce. The Politics of History and History of the Political” and “Cultural History and the Necessity of the Social”.

A printed interview 2015, in English, conducted by the Portuguese journal Práticas da História may be had here http://www.praticasdahistoria.pt/en.


“For over thirty years Patrick Joyce has challenged orthodoxies in history and the social sciences. Through his engagements with cultural Marxism, the linguistic turn and Foucault’s work on governmentality, his has been a consistently radical voice in the successive debates over the future and politics of social and cultural history since the later 1970s. While his research has ranged widely from the politics of class in Victorian England to the formation of the modern self, it has always shown a preoccupation with liberalism, modernity and the discipline of history. Although his work has concentrated on Britain, its influence has registered widely, not only in Britain and North America, but across much of the world.”

Conference in honour of Patrick Joyce, Manchester, March 2008 (see The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Britain Book on the Publications page)

Photo credits: Top: Roger Mayne, Footballer Jumping, Sunny Brindley Road, Harrow Road 1957

Above: Josef Koudelka Ireland 1972:

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The State of Freedom

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Field Day Review

Essays 2014, 2015.

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Material Powers

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Update April 2018 IY e-Solutions