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Davina Cooper is a research professor in law and political theory. She is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose work focuses on concepts, transformative politics, experimental communities and state activism. She is particularly interested in methodologies that enable new progressive conceptual understandings, anchored in contested and innovative ways of living and governing.  She currently directs an ESRC funded research project on the Future of Legal Gender - a prefigurative feminist law reform initiative. Her books include Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (CUP, 2004); Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (Duke 2014) and Feeling like a State: Desire, Denial and the Recasting of Authority (Duke, 2019).  From 2004-2009, she directed the AHRC Research Centre in Law, Gender and Sexuality (based at the universities of Kent, Keele and Westminster); from 2000-2003, she was Research Dean for the Social Science Faculty at Keele. She has been a specialist advisor to the Education and Employment Parliamentary Select Committee, a magistrate, and a local London councillor. She is a founding editor of the interdisciplinary Routledge book series, Social Justice.

Research Interests

Davina Cooper's research interests include methodologies for developing new critical concepts, including in relation to equality, the state, power and property. She is also interested in prefiguration, state theory, utopias and the radical imagination.  She has worked on legal pluralism and legal consciousness and is interested in the place of law, regulation and state in everyday life. Her work continues to address questions to do with gender, feminism,  and lesbian and gay sexual politics.

Selected Publications

  • 2019: Feeling like a State: Political Withdrawal and the Transformative Imagination [Duke University Press for Global and Insurgent Legalities series];
  • 2017: ‘Prefiguring the State’, Antipode 49 (2) 335-356;
  • 2016: ‘If the State Decertified Gender, What Might Happen to its Meaning and Value?’ Journal of Law and Society 43 (4): 483-505 [co-author, Flora Renz];
  • 2014: Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (Duke University Press, Durham, NC) [awarded Charles Taylor Book prize];  
  • 2004: Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge);  
  • 1998: Governing Out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (Rivers Oram, London and New York University Press, NY)

Latest Publications

Find out more about Professor Cooper's research on Pure.