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Dr Alex McLaughlin

Lecturer in Global Political Theory

My research is in political theory, focusing on questions of global and intergenerational justice, particularly as they arise in relation to climate change. I am currently working on a project that explores the role for political protest and resistance in pressing for a sustainable future.


Prior to joining the Department in 2023, I held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Before that, I was a Teaching Fellow in Political Theory at the University of Reading, where I also completed my PhD as part of the Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Programme in Climate Justice. I am a Research Affiliate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

Research interests

My research can be split into three overlapping strands. I am currently working on a project that explores the scope of permissible protest and resistance in the face of global climate change. I am interested, for example, in forms of dissent in this context which challenge or seek to move beyond the norms of civil disobedience, as well as in whether the peculiar features of climate change can be accommodated by traditional theoretical frames for thinking about protest and resistance.


A second strand of research is animated by issues of fairness in global climate policy. This work stems from my PhD thesis, which developed an account of how the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation ought to be shared among states. I have become especially interested in methodological questions concerning the relationship between climate change burden sharing and theories of global distributive justice.


At an earlier stage, a final strand of research explores the relevance of the concept of ‘existential risk’ for debates about global and intergenerational justice in general and climate change in particular. Although worries about extinction and catastrophe are regularly voiced in activism, they do not often feature in debates in political theory. I want to understand whether this neglect is justified or not.  

Research supervision

I would be happy to supervise students working on topics relating to climate justice, global justice and protest and resistance.

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