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Dr Adrian Pabst

Visiting Professor

About Research

Adrian Pabst is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the School of Politics and International Relations in the University of Kent, and a Visiting Professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Lille (Sciences Po). His research is at the interface of political theory, political economy and political theology. Since 2008 he has been associate editor of Telos, a journal of critical theory and contemporary thought that is published in New York City.

In addition to his academic affiliations, he is a Trustee of ResPublica, an independent non-partisan think tank, and of the James Maddison Charitable Trust that is dedicated to the study of federalism. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Academic Board of Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice, a Vatican-based independent institution that promotes Catholic Social Thought.


After studying economics at Cambridge, European Studies at the LSE and political philosophy in Paris, Adrian completed his doctoral dissertation on the philosophical question of individuation and the political problem of individuality at Cambridge (2002-2006). His first monograph, which is based on this PhD thesis and his post-doctoral research, is entitled Metaphysics: The Creation of Hierarchy, and it was published by Wm.B. Eerdmans in May 2012.

From 2007 to 2009, he held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Nottingham. His post-doctoral research was on democracy, capitalism and religion with a focus on rival sources of sovereignty. This has led to a variety of articles and book chapters in leading international journals and prestigious edited collections.

Since then much of his work has focused on Catholic Social Thought and cognate traditions in Anglicanism and Orthodoxy. In July 2009 Adrian co-convened a conference on 'Christian Social Teaching and the Politics of Money' that coincided with the publication of Pope Benedict XVI's social encyclical Caritas in veritate.

Based on this conference, he edited a book of essays entitled The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Pope Benedict XVI's social encyclical and the future of political economy, with contributions from John Milbank, Tracey Rowland, Stefano Zamagni, David Schindler and Jon Cruddas MP.

Over the past few years, the focus of Adrian's work has been on post-liberalism, which combines a critique of socio-cultural and economic liberalism with alternatives that draw on metaphysical-political realism (especially Christian fusion of biblical revelation with Greco-Roman philosophy) and Catholic Social Thought (including the Renaissance and modern tradition of 'civil economy'). This has led to an essay collection on Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics, with contributions by Lord Maurice Glasman, Frank Field MP, Jon Cruddas MP, David Lammy MP, Tom Watson MP, Ruth Davis (Greenpeace UK), John Milbank (theologian), Arnie Graf (community-organiser) and Rowenna Davis (2015 parliamentary candidate).

In 2016, he is publishing a monograph (co-written with John Milbank) entitled The Politics of Virtue: Post-liberalism and the Human Future. The argument is that contemporary politics is dominated by a liberal creed that champions 'negative liberty' and individual happiness. This creed undergirds the mainstream political right and left – free-market capitalism, state bureaucracy and individualism in social life. The triumph of liberalism has had the effect of subordinating human association and the common good to narrow self-interest and short-term utility. By contrast, post-liberalism promotes individual fulfilment and mutual flourishing based on shared goals that have more substantive content than the formal abstractions of liberal law and contract, and yet are also adaptable to different cultural and local traditions. The book applies this analysis to the economy, politics, culture, and international affairs. In each case, having diagnosed the crisis of liberalism, it proposes post-liberal alternatives, notably new concepts and fresh policy ideas. Amid the current crisis, post-liberalism is a programme that could define a new politics of virtue and the common good.

Besides his academic publications, he has also contributed essays commissioned by Policy Network, Theos think tank, the US-based Social Sciences Research Council and ABC Religion & Politics (Australia). Since 2005, he has regularly written for the comment and op-ed pages of The International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The National, The Huffington Post and Les Echos.



  • 2016    The Politics of Virtue. Post-liberalism and the human future (London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016), 368pp (co-written with John Milbank)
  • 2012    Metaphysics: The Creation of Hierarchy (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.B. Eerdmans,     2012), 521 pp

Edited collections 

  • 2015    Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics (co-edited with Ian Geary), with contributions          by Jon Cruddas MP, Lord Glasman, Frank Field MP, Tom Watson MP, David        Lammy MP, Ruth Davis, Arnie Graf, Rowenna Davis and David Goodhart (London:        I.B. Tauris, 2015), 288 pp; 2nd edition published on 30 September 2015
  • 2011    The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Pope Benedict XVI's social encyclical and the future         of political economy; edited collection with contributions by John Milbank,       Tracey Rowland, David L. Schindler, Stefano Zamagni and Jon Cruddas MP (Eugene,       OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011), 282 pp
  • 2011    The Good Life in Common. Europe beyond the crisis of instrumental reason; edited           collection with contributions from Cardinal Angelo Scola and 5 MEPs (Venice: Marcianum Publishing, 2011), 110 pp

Refereed journal articles

  • 2016    'Is liberal democracy sliding into 'democratic despotism'?', The Political Quarterly,            Vol. 87, no. 1 (March 2016)
  • 2015    'The Meta-crisis of Secular Capitalism' (co-written with John Milbank), International      Review of Economics, Vol. 62, No. 3 (August 2015), pp. 197-212.
  • 2015    ''A habitual disposition to the good': on reason, virtue and realism', Global Discourse,      Vol. 5, No. 2 (June 2015), pp. 261-79.
  • 2014    'After the Scottish No: The Crisis of Liberal Democracy and the Case for "Mixed Government"', Telos No. 169 (Winter 2014), pp. 8-27.
  • 2014    'Commonwealth and Covenant: the West in a neo-medieval era of international      affairs', Telos No. 168 (Fall 2014), pp. 107-131.
  • 2014    'The Anglican Polity and the Politics of the Common Good' (co-written with John           Milbank), Crucible: the Christian Journal of Social Ethics, January – March 2014, pp.    7-15.
  • 2013    'Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: A Reply to Luciano Pellicani', Telos No. 162 (Spring        2013), pp. 164-176.
  • 2012    'The Politics of Paradox: Metaphysics beyond 'Political Ontology'', Telos No. 161           (Winter 2012), pp. 99-119.
  • 2012    'The secularism of post-secularity: religion, realism and the revival of grand theory in        IR', Review of International Studies, Vol. 38, no. 5 (December 2012), pp. 995-1017.
  • 2012    'The Political Economy of Civil Society' (co-written with Roberto Scazzieri),        Constitutional Political Economy, Vol. 23, no. 4 (October 2012), pp. 337-356.
  • 2010    'The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy', Telos, No. 152 (Fall 2010): 44-67.
  • 2010    'Modern Sovereignty in Question: Theology, Democracy and Capitalism', Modern           Theology, Vol. 26, No. 4 (October 2010), pp. 570-602.
  • 2009    'Unholy War and Just Peace: Religious Alternatives to Secular Warfare', Politics and         Religion, Vol. III, No. 2 (2009), pp. 209-232.
  • 2007    'The Primacy of Relation over Substance and the Recovery of a Theological           Metaphysics', American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 81, No. 4 (Fall 2007),             pp. 553-78.
  • 2007    'Can There Be a Just Peace Without a Just War?', New Blackfriars Vol. 88, Issue 1018 (November 2007), pp. 722-38.
  • 2003    'The Unity of the Platonic City: On a recent controversy surrounding the Republic',         Telos no. 123 (Winter 2003), pp. 186-92.
  • 2002    'De la chrétienté à la modernité ? Une lecture critique des thèses de Radical            Orthodoxy sur la rupture scotiste et ockhamienne et sur le renouveau de la théologie        de Saint Thomas', Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques vol. 86, no. 4          (2002), pp. 561-99.

Book chapters

  • 2016    'The Political Economy of Europe's Polity: pathways for the common currency beyond ordo-liberalism and neo-functionalism', in Ivano Cardinale, D'Maris Coffman and Roberto Scazzieri (eds.), The Political Economy of the Eurozone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), forthcoming
  • 2016    'IR Theory and the 'Modern' Middle Ages: rival theological theorisations of the     international order', in William Bain (ed.), International Relations and the Medieval         Imagination (London: Routledge, 2016), forthcoming
  • 2016    'Commonwealth or Market-State? Europe's Christian heritage and the future of the           European polity', in Gary Wilton and Jonathan Chaplin (eds.), God and the EU           (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), pp. 109-28.
  • 2015    'Preface to the new edition: Why Labour lost and how it can win again', in Ian Geary        and Adrian Pabst (eds.), Blue Labour: forging a new politics, 2nd edition (London: I.B.       Tauris, 2015), pp. xix-xxxvi.
  • 2015    'Introduction: Blue Labour and the Politics of the Common Good', in Ian Geary and         Adrian Pabst (eds.), Blue Labour: forging a new politics (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015),   pp. 1-10.
  • 2015    ''Civil Economy': Blue Labour's Alternative to Capitalism', in Ian Geary and Adrian         Pabst (eds.), Blue Labour: forging a new politics (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 97-     119.
  • 2015    'Conclusion: Blue Labour – Principles, Policy Ideas and Prospects', in Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst (eds.), Blue Labour: forging a new politics (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 253-63.
  • 2015    'Prosperity and Justice for All: why solidarity and fraternity are key to an efficient,          ethical economy', in Alberto Quadrio Curzio and Giovanni Marseguerra (eds.),             Solidarity as a "Social Value" – Paradigms for a Good Society (Vatican City:        Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015), pp. 125-159.
  • 2014    'Constitutionnalisme et «gouvernement mixte» : le christianisme face aux dérives de           la démocratie libérale', in Philippe Poirier (dir.), Démocratie, Liberté et Religion          (Paris: Editions Parole et Silence [Collection Collège des Bernardins], 2014), pp. 75-          96.
  • 2013    '"People who want to change things must keep pushing for change": Manuel F.     Montes in conversation with Adrian Pabst', in Piotr Dutkiewicz and Richard Sakwa      (eds.), 22 Ideas to Fix the World. Conversations with the World's Foremost Thinkers        (New York: New York University Press, 2013), pp. 305-325.
  • 2013    'The Pan-European Commonwealth: the heritage of Byzantium and the future of   Europe beyond the EU', in Alexey Gromyko (ed.), Wider Europe in the Global   World: New Challenges – New Solutions, Reports of the Institute of Europe No. 292        (Moscow: IE RAN, 2013), pp. 29-50.
  • 2013    'Fraternity', in Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni (eds.), Handbook on the           Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise (Cheltenham: Edwar Elgar, 2013),    pp. 153-162.
  • 2013    'Liberalism', in Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni (eds.), Handbook on the           Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2013), pp. 217-226.
  • 2012    'Economy of life: charismatic dynamics and the spirit of gift', in Luigino Bruni and            Barbara Sena (eds.), The Charismatic Principle in Social Life (London: Routledge,        2012), pp. 1-19.
  • 2012    'The Western Paradox: Why the United States is more Religious but less Christian            than Europe', in Representing Religion in the European Union: Does God Matter?,            ed. Lucian Leustean (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 168-184.
  • 2012    'The Civil State: an alternative model of democracy and modernisation', in Vladislav          Inozemtsev and Piotr Dutkiewicz (eds), Democracy versus Modernization. A dilemma      for Russia and the world (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 179-198.
  • 2011    'The Paradox of Faith: Religion beyond secularization and de-secularization', in Craig        Calhoun and Georgi Derlugian (eds.), The Deepening Crisis. Governance Challenges          after Neoliberalism (New York: New York University Press), pp. 157-182.
  • 2011    'The Paradoxical Nature of the Good: Relationality, Sympathy, and Mutuality in Rival Traditions of Civil Economy', in A. Pabst (ed.), The Crisis of Global         Capitalism: Pope Benedict XVI's social encyclical and the future of political             economy (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011), pp. 173-206.
  • 2011    'From Civil to Political Economy: Adam Smith's Theological Debt', in Paul           Oslington (ed.), Adam Smith as Theologian (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 106-124.
  • 2010    'Sovereign Reason Unbound: the proto-modern legacy of Avicenna and Gilbert      Porreta', in Peter M. Candler Jr. and Conor Cunningham (eds.), The Grandeur of         Reason. Religion, Tradition and Universalism (London: SCM, 2010), pp. 135-166. 2008    'On the Theological Origins of the Secular Market State', in Roberto Scazzieri and             Raffaella Simili (eds.), The Migration of Ideas (Sagamore Beach, MA: Watson   International Publishing, 2008), pp. 99-122.

 Essays and policy papers 

  • 2016    "Blue collar workers and the Left: Labour must reconnect with those it left behind",          LSE British Politics and Policy, 13 January 2016, available online at
  • 2015    co-author (with Phillip Blond and Elena Antonacopoulou) of a report entitled In Professions We Trust: Fostering virtuous practitioners in teaching, law and medicine, launched in the House of Lords on 14 July 2015, available online at
  • 2015    "The Double Death of Europe", published by LSE EuroCrisis on 7 May 2015,
  • 2015    "A new federal settlement for Britain and Europe", published by Policy Network on 23 April 2015,
  • 2014    "Post-liberal politics and the alternative of mutualising social security" (co-written with John Milbank), commissioned for Theos report on The future of welfare: a Theos collection, ed. Nick Spencer (London: Theos, 2014), pp. 90-100, at
  • 2013    "Secular supercessionism and alternative modernity: a comment on Brad S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation: how a religious revolution secularized society", commissioned essay published online by The Immanent Frame, 24 September 2013, available online at
  • 2012    "The Christian City: a Bastion for All Believers" (co-written with John Milbank), Oasis Journal, No. 16 (December 2012), available online at
  • 2012    "Building a civil economy", essay commissioned by openDemocracy in the series Uneconomics (edited by William Davis), 20th July 2012, available online at
  • 2012    "A post-Keynesian political economy for the left", essay commissioned by Policy Network, 18 June 2012, available online at
  • 2012    "Association and Civic Participation", essay commissioned by the The ResPublica Trust for a collection Our House: Reflections on Representation and Reform in the House of Lords, 29th February 2012, pp. 16-22, available online at
  • 2012    "The Rise of the Civic and the Return of the Ethical", essay commissioned by the Gulen Institute, University of Houston, 31st January 2012, available online at
  • 2011    "The resurgence of the civic", essay jointly commissioned by Possible Futures and The Immanent Frame, 29th November 2011, available online at
  • 2010    "A Paradoxical Politics: The Great Transformation and the future of social democracy", essay commissioned by Policy Network, 25 June 2010, online at