Academic Profile

People Feature

Samuel Bagg

Non-Stipendiary Research Fellow in Politics
Departmental Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations

I received my PhD in Political Science from Duke University in 2017, and spent the next two years as a postdoctoral fellow with the Research Group on Constitutional Studies at McGill University, before coming to Nuffield in September 2019.

My work seeks to reimagine democratic ideals and practices in light of realistic assumptions about the dynamics of social inequality and political power.

Several articles have articulated and defended my practice-oriented approach. Others have applied that approach to questions of democratic theory, engaging research in political psychology, behavior, and institutions, in order to generate reliable heuristics for democratic judgment.

My book (forthcoming from Oxford University Press) brings findings from all these fields into conversation with critical traditions and radical thought. The result is a critical realist theory of democracy, which defends the real but limited value of electoral democracy, while offering an unflinching diagnosis of its failures and an ambitious program of democratic action and reform.

Samuel Bagg


Forthcoming. “Realism Against Legitimacy: For a Radical, Action-Oriented Political Realism,” Social Theory and Practice.

2021. “Preaching to the Choir? Rhetoric and Identity in a Polarized Age,” with Rob Goodman, Journal of Politics. (ungated)

2021. “Fighting Power with Power: The Administrative State as a Weapon against Concentrated Private Power,” Social Philosophy and Policy. (ungated)

2021. “Intra-Party Democracy: A Functionalist Approach,” with Udit Bhatia, Journal of Political Philosophy. (ungated)

2021. “Beyond the Search for the Subject: An Anti-Essentialist Ontology for Liberal Democracy,” European Journal of Political Theory. (ungated)

2019. “An Adversarial Ethics of Campaigns and Elections", with Isak Tranvik, Perspectives on Politics. (ungated)

2018. "The Power of the Multitude: Answering Epistemic Challenges to Democracy," American Political Science Review. (ungated)

2018. “Can Deliberation Neutralise Power?” European Journal of Political Theory. (ungated)

2017. “What Makes a Political Theory Political? A Comment on Waldron” Political Studies Review. (ungated)

2017. “When will a Darwinian Approach be Useful for the Study of Society?” Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. (ungated)

2016. “Between Critical and Normative Theory: Predictive Political Theory as a Deweyan Realism” Political Research Quarterly. (ungated)

2014. “Legitimacy”, with Jack Knight, in Michael T. Gibbons, ed., Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Wiley. (ungated)