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Dr Dario Castiglione

Dott Fil (Palermo), MA DPhil (Sussex)

Associate Professor


01392 723173

Amory B208

My main areas of research comprise democratic theory and the history of early modern political philosophy.


I am currently the Director of the Centre for Political Thought at the University of Exeter. For six years, between 2009 and 2015, I was one of the Editors of the ECPR Press.


During the Academic Year 2007-08, I was the Gaetano Mosca Chair for the "Dipartimento di Science Politiche" of the University of Turin.  From 2003 to 2005 I was Senior Research Fellow at Center for Democracy and the Third Sector, Georgetown University, Washington DC. And In 2001 I gave one of the Plenary Lectures at the 28th Annual Hume Society Conference, University of Victoria (BC).


I have been Visiting Fellow or Professor at the following institutions: Research School of Social Sciences, Australia National University, Canberra; Zentrum fur Europaische Rechtspolitik, University of Bremen; Robert Schuman Centre and European University Institute, Florence (Forum on "European Constitutionalism"); the New School University, New York; and more recently in China at the Universities of Thinghua, Peking, and Fudan, Shanghai.

Research interests

Main Research Interests

My main fields of interest is political and democratic theory and the history of early modern political philosophy.

Main areas of research and interest in political theory comprise:

Democratic theory and the interconnection between state and society, in particular ideas of representation and accountability, civil society and social capital, public and private. I have also worked and published extensively on democracy, citizenship and constitutionalism in Europe, with particular application to the development of the European Union as both a ‘polity’ and a ‘regime’; and the recurrent tension between the national and supranational dimensions of politics in the EU, as well as the communitarian and comspolitan discourses underpinning them. 

Currently, my research focus in political theory is around theories of political representation and political legitimacy. 

My interest in the history of political thought comprise:

European ideas and the history of political thought, particularly the early modern republican, jurisprudential, and social contract traditions; Hume, Mandeville and the Scottish Enlightenment, the debate about commerce and morality; the historiography of political thought and its methodological implications; philosophical scepticism.

Research Projects

My main research interest at the moment is in the area of political representation. My interest in political representation developed while I was a Research Fellow at the Georgetown 'Centre for Democracy and the Third Sector', where I organized several initiatives together with Professor Mark Warren. 

In the past, I have been part of a number of research projects financed by either the ESRC or the European Commission on issues of European democracy, constitutionalism, new governance, and citizenship.


Main Research Grants

· 2011-2013: Grant in support of FP7 Intra-European Marie Curie fellowship (Dr Sandra Kroeger): 192.850Euros

· 2004-2007: IP on ‘New Methods of Governance’ (NEWGOV), Exeter Partner: 20,000Euros

· 2002-2005: RTD consortium on ‘Citizenship and democratic legitimacy in the European Union (CIDEL), Exeter Partner: 162,694 Euros

· 2001: EURESCO Conference on ‘Social Capital: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’, sponsored by ESF and EC (plus a £3,000 contribution from the OEOS ESRC Programme): 45,000Euros

· 1999-2002: ESRC Research Grant on ‘Strategies of Civic Inclusion in Pan-European Civil Society’ (main co-ordinator) as part of the Programme on ‘One Europe or Several’: £161,090

· 1998-2000: TSER Network on European Citizenship (EURCIT), Scientist in Charge for Exeter: 29,220ECU (Exeter’s share)

· 1998-99: ESRC Research Grant on ‘Citizenship and sovereignty in a mixed polity’ (together with Professor Richard Bellamy, Reading): £41,913 (R000222446)

· 1994-97: ESRC Research Grant on ‘Principles and languages of the constitution of Europe’ (together with Professor Richard Bellamy, Reading): £24,140 (R000221170)


Editorial Collaborations

Editor of ECPR Press

Associate Editor of the European Journal of Political Theory

Member of the editorial board of Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Politica; and the online, peer-reviewed journal: InTransizione


Research supervision

History of political thought: methods and approaches 

17th and 18th political thought, with particular reference to the Scottish Enlightenment, republicanism, natural law theories 

The political thought of authors such as David Hume, Bernard Mandeville

Political Representation

Theories of Democracy and civil society

Constitutionalism: Theory and history

The development of the European Union: constitutional and democratic issues

Citizenship and social capital

Research students

Currently, I am supervising the following research students:

Bingshu Zhao, Bringing the family back into early modern political thought

Roberto Baccarini, The Nature of the EU’s Institutional Structure and its Role in the Response to the Covid-19 Crisis

Lingzheng Zeng, Isaiah Berlin: Pluralism and Toleration


Students I have ssupervised in the past comprise:

Yutao Zhao, Self-love and the artificiality of Civil Society: Hobbes, Mandeville and Hume

Marios Filis, Political Ethics: History and Theory

Alexandra Bohme, The Multidimensional Sovereignty of the European Union

Jan Pieter Beetz, Popular Sovereignty in Europe

Keith Sutherland, Giving Up on the Concept of Representation

Farhad Kerimov, Pluralism, Discourse, and Democratic Politics

Martin Moorby, Marx's "Riddle": Alien Politics in the Thought of Karl Marx

Other information


Professionally related activities:

·       2006-07: Member of the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships Referee Panel 

·       2007: Member of Evaluation Panel of >node< (New Orientations for Democracy in Europe), a research programme of the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development (RFT).

·       2010-2012: Chair for the Blondel Prize for the best PhD thesis in Political Science 

·       2012: Chair of the Prize Committee for the best 2011 article published in the journal Contemporary Political Theory


Refereeing and Research Funding Assessments 

Reader for: 

Publishers: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Manchester University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Routledge, Polity, Sage, Continuum.

Academic Journals, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Politics, History of Political Thought, Political Studies, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Common Market Studies, British Journal of the History of Philosophy, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Res Publica, Review of International Political Economy, Contemporary Political Theory, European Journal of Political Theory, The Journal of European Integration, Journal of International Relations, European Journal of Philosophy, European Journal of International Relations, The Swiss Political Science Review, Hume Studies, Constellations, Theoria, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Polity, International Studies Perspectives, Policy and Politics, International Studies Review, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Government and Opposition, Journal of Social Policy, Politics, Philosophy Politics and Economics, Ratio Juris, Brazilian Political Science Review.


Referee for:

Research Grant and Post-doctoral Fellowship Referee for the ESRC (UK); the SSHR Canada; the Italian Ministry for University and Research (Anvur); the European Commission for FP7; the European Science Foundation; the Dutch Research Council; the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR); FWO, Research Foundation Flanders; The Research Council of Norway


Conferences and Workshops

As part of my research activities, I have organized numerous conferences and workshops. This is a list of the main events which I have promoted:

·       Panel on Republicanism and Representation in Contemporary Perspectives, at The Venice World Multidisciplinary Conference on Republics and Republicanism, Venice June 2021

·       The nature and transformation of contemporary political regimes: Sino-European perspectives, Exeter February 2019

·       Representation in Historical and Transcultural Perspectives, Exeter April 2019

·       Sino-European Workshop, organised in collaboration with the University of Fudan, Exeter May 2018

·       Workshop on ‘New Approaches to Political Cohesion in Democratic Systems’, Exeter, November 2017

·       Sino-European Workshop on ‘Populism: Origins, evolution and effects’, organised together with Fudan University, Shanghai, April 2017. 

·       Panel on ‘Populism, anti-establishment politics and representation, ECPR Conference, Oslo, October 2017

·       Conference on ‘Le Metamorfosi della Rappresentanza’, (co-organised) University of Turin, October 2016

·       Workshop on ‘Translating Political Languages: A Sino-European Perspective’, Exeter, June 2016

·       Workshop on ‘The Vocabulary of Representation’, German Historical Institute, Paris, April 2016

·       Panel on ‘Is Democracy Today Unthinkable Without Parties?’, ECPR Conference, Montreal August 2015

·       Workshop on Two Faces of Political Representation (together with Johannes Pollak, October 2015 (Harvard University)

·       Symposium on Albert Weale, Democratic Justice and the Social Contract (co-organized with Chiara Cordelli), University of Exeter May 2014

·       SWDTC Programme for Graduate Advanced Training in ‘Issues in Political Theory’, University of Exeter, Academic year 2013–2014.

·       Conference on Trends in Political Representation in the EU, (co-organised with Sandra Kröger), University of Exeter, May 2012, funded by the Jean Monnet Programme. 

·       Workshop on ‘”We the People” A new object of democratic analysis’ (co-organized with Sofia Näsström), ECPR Joint Sessions, St. Gallen, April 2011

·       Symposium on Michael Saward, The Representative Claim, University of Exeter, October 2010

·       Panel at the ECPR conference, Potsdam 2009

·       APSA Roundtable on ‘Social Capital and Inequality’, Boston, August 2008

·       Co-organiser of the Conference on ‘Democratic Representation’ at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver May 2006

·       Panel on ‘Changing ideas of accountability, responsibility and representation in democratic governance’, 3rd ECPR Conference, Budapest, September 2005

·       Panel on ‘Representation and participation in democratic theory’, at the MPSA Annual Conference, Chicago, April 2005

·       CIDEL Workshop on ‘Constitution making and democratic legitimacy in the European Union’, London November 2004 Research Workshop on ‘The transformation of Representation’, CDATS, Georgetown University, Washington DC, June 2004

·       The public discourse of law and politics in multilingual societies (IILS, Oñati, 6-8 June, 2001)

·       EURESCO Conference (also financed by the European Commission) on ‘Social Capital: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ (Exeter, September 2001)

·       Colloquium on ‘Constitutionalism, democracy and citizenship’ (University of Exeter, November 2000)

·       ‘European Citizenship III’, EURCIT Workshop (University of Vienna, September 2000)

·       ‘European Citizenship II’, EURCIT Workshop (University of Sassari, June 2000)

·       ‘The Culture of Toleration’, Conference of the Association of Social and Legal Philosophy (University of Exeter, April 2000)

·       ‘European Citizenship I’, EURCIT Workshop (University of Minho, November 1999)

·       ‘National Traditions of Citizenship II’, EURCIT Workshop (University of Florence, May 1999)

·       1999 Conference of Political Thought (St. Catherine College, Oxford), January 1999

·       ‘National Traditions of Citizenship I’, EURCIT Workshop (University of Reading June 1998)

·       ‘The Constitution in Transformation’, Workshop in preparation of the Political Studies Special Issue (UEA, September 1995)

·       ‘History and Theory in National Contexts’ (University of Exeter, November 1994)

·       ‘The Constitution of Europe’ (University of Exeter, June 1993)

·       ‘Public and Private Spheres in the Eighteenth Century’ (University of Exeter, March 1993)

·       ‘The Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century Europe’ (University of Exeter, May 1992)

·       ‘The Greening of Politics’ (University of Exeter, March 1991)

·       ‘Scenari della Transizione nell’Est Europeo’ (University of Perugia, Settember 1990)

·       ‘Open Forum on Easter Europe’ (University of Exeter, February 1990)

·       ‘La Trasformazione della Sinistra Italiana’ (University of Palermo, November 1989)


Dario is Reader/Associate Professor in Political Theory.

He studied Philosophy in Palermo, where he graduated with a thesis on Max Weber. His education at the time owes probably more to the intellectual rigor and stimulation of political discussions and political criticism (and to an amazing group of friends) than to University lectures.

During and soon after his undergraduate studies, he worked as a journalist. He did not escape the military service, which in Italy was compulsory until a few years ago.

He came to Britain in the early 1980s to learn English, and is still learning. Thanks to a studentship from the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi (Turin), which was generously renewed for 3 years, he did his postgraduate studies at Sussex, and obtained a D.Phil. with a thesis on David Hume's Political Philosophy. While at Sussex, he discovered the riches of Intellectual History thanks to Donald Winch, John Burrow and Stefan Collini.

He joined the Department of Politics at Exeter in 1989, and was lucky to find the ideal environment in the Exeter political theory group, which has traditionally cultivated both historical and contemporary interests in the study of political thought. During these years, he has greatly enjoyed the friendly environment offered by the Department and the intellectual stimulus of the conversations and the collaboration with present and past colleagues. However, he has not given up his combative spirit, which occasionally drives academic colleagues and some in the administrative staff mad.

During these years, he has carried on working on the history of political and philosophical thought, but has also returned to his earlier interests in contemporary social and political theory. For many years he has been actively involved in the discussion of the constitutional impact of the European integration process, and on the transformation of some of the fundamental categories of our political language in the light of recent postnational developments. He has been involved in numerous European-wide research networks and projects concerned with the normative dimension of European integration, particularly in collaboration with Richard Bellamy (currently at UCL).

For the past 10 years he has shifted his political theory interests to political representation and democratic legitimacy, though fromtime to time he is still working on Hume and early modern political thought.

He has taught or has been visiting scholar in a number of institutions in the USA, Australia, Italy, Germany, Austria, and China

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