Dr Steve Cooke

Associate Professor of Political TheoryDr Stephen Cooke

Personal details

  • BA (Open University), MA (Manchester), PhD (Manchester)

Dr. Steve Cooke completed his undergraduate degree in Politics at the Open University. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and a PhD in Politics from the University of Manchester. In 2012 Dr. Cooke was awarded the Society for Applied Philosophy’s 30th Anniversary Research Fellowship to research the use of violence in defence of non-human animals and the environment. His main area of research focuses on duties to non-human animals and the ethical status of law-breaking and political violence carried out for their sakes.



My research interests are in

  • moral and political duties to non-human animals
  • the ethics of different forms of protest and political violence
  • liberal theories of justice

Current research

I am currently working on the ethics of animal rights activism. A key strand of this project explores the ethical challenges faced by those with pro-animal rights views in forming and maintaining friendships within societies largely hostile towards their moral commitments.

A second project concerns the way animal welfare is conceived in agricultural science and how different conceptions serve to legitimise serious harms to nonhuman animals. Connected with this research is a piece of work on the relational harms done to nonhuman animals by farming. This research also examines the ethics of interventions designed to mimic bonding behaviours, which are carried out to ameliorate and mitigate these harms.

PhD Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD topics in any of the following areas:

  • Contemporary political philosophy and normative ethics (in the analytic tradition)
  • Political obligation
  • Theories of rights, especially animal rights
  • Animal ethics
  • Ethics of protest and political violence
  • Liberal theories of justice

I presently supervise the following PhD students:

  • Nick Schenk, 'The moral right to citizenship: a normative theory of just membership for non-citizen stateless persons'
  • Susana Pickett, 'Is veganism too altruistic? An analysis of moral schizophrenia and akrasia in non-veganism and the animal rights movement'
  • Thomas Dowling, 'Securitisation Theory from Copenhagen and Paris to Naypyidaw: An Investigation into the Undersecuritisation of Environmental Security in Myanmar Under the National League for Democracy'
  • Will Gildea, 'Animal Rights and the Welfare they Protect'. https://www.midlands4cities.ac.uk/student_profile/william-gildea/


I convene three undergraduate political philosophy modules:

PL1019: Politics, Power, and Ethics
PL1011: Political Concepts
PL2027: Contemporary Political Philosophy: theories of justice
PL3140: Climate Change: ethics, issues, justice.

I also teach on:

PL2094: Political Analysis 1 
PL7095: Global Ethics in Practice (MA)

My guide to writing essays in political philosophy can be downloaded from here.

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Contact Details

School of Politics and International Relations

University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2702
Email: HyPIR@le.ac.uk


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