Our team

Professor Michael Kenny

Inaugural Director, the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Professor Kenny leads research in place and public policy, and re-making government in the 21st century.


Before he arrived in Cambridge, Michael held positions at: Queen’s University, Belfast; the University of Sheffield, where he was appointed Head of Department; 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, a member of an external experts panel convened by the Scottish Parliament to advise on the constitutional implications of Brexit, 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 is senior advisor to ‘The Science of Global Risk’ project funded by the Templeton Foundation.

Research Interests

Public policy; governance; territorial politics; British politics.

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’; challenges to expertise in public policy; and the politics and ethics of behaviour change. He is writing a book about different possible futures for the United Kingdom.


Michael teaches on the M.Phil in Public Policy.

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 ‘McKenzie’ 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 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, April 2014.

‘History and Dissent: Bernard Crick’s The American Science of Politics’,  American Political Science Review, 100, 4, November 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)