Photo: Colin Hay

Professor Colin Hay

Professor of Political Analysis

Contact Details
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1707
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1717
Room: 1.28 Elmfield
Email :


Colin Hay joined the department in 2007 as Professor of Political Analysis, having previously held the same title at the University of Birmingham where, from 2002-2005, he was Head of the Department of Political Science and International Studies. In Sheffield, he is the Department's REF Lead and is co-director (with Tony Payne) of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI).

He studied Social and Political Science at Cambridge University (Clare College), before moving to the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University to work on his Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Bob Jessop. His first academic post was at Lancaster University. He moved to the University of Birmingham in 1995 and was promoted to Professor in 2002. During his time at Birmingham he held visiting posts at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University (US), in the Department of Political Science at MIT (US) and in the Department of Government at the University of Manchester (UK). He is a founding co-editor of the journals Comparative European Politics (with Ben Rosamond of Warwick University and Martin A. Schain of New York University) and British Politics (with Peter Kerr of the University of Birmingham, Dave Marsh of the Australian National University and Stephen Kettell of the University of Warwick). He is a member of the editorial team and, from January 2010, lead editor of New Political Economy. He was a member of the 2008 RAE sub-panel for politics and international studies. He was elected as an Academician of the Social Sciences in 2009.

He has been the co-recipient of major research grants from the ESRC on globalisation, European integration and the European social model. He is the author of Re-Stating Social and Political Change (Open University Press, 1996) which was awarded the Philip Abrams Memorial Prize, The Political Economy of New Labour: Labouring Under False Pretences? (Manchester University Press, 1999), Political Analysis (Palgrave, 2002) and, most recently, Why We Hate Politics (Polity, 2007, winner of the WJM Mackenzie Prize). In addition, he is co-author of Postwar British Politics in Perspective (Polity, 1999), editor of New Directions in Political Science (Palgrave, 2010 – produced to mark the 60th Anniversary of the PSA), British Politics Today (Polity, 2002), and co-editor of Developments in British Politics 9 (Palgrave, 2011), The Role of Ideas in Political Analysis (Routledge, 2010), European Politics (Oxford University Press, 2007), The State: Theories and Issues (Palgrave, 2006), Demystifying Globalisation (Palgrave, 2000), and Theorising Modernity (Longman, 1999). He is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of British Politics (Oxford University Press, 2008) and of the Sage Encyclopedia of Governance (Sage, 2007). He is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes including the Philip Abrams Memorial Prize (1997), BISA´s Review of International Studies (2001), the UKPAC prize (2004), the WJM Mackenzie Prize (2008) and the Richard Rose Prize (2009). He is currently working on books on European Welfare Capitalism in Hard Times (with Daniel Wincott, Cardiff University) and Globalisation and the State.

Professional activities and recognition

  • Chief-Editor, New Political Economy
  • Editor, British Politics
  • Editor, Comparative European Politics

Colin's teaching falls predominantly into two areas – advanced political analysis (drawing on his published work on political ontology, analytical strategies in political science, and the role of structure, agency, ideas and power in political explanation); and the political economy of globalisation (drawing on his published work in political economy on globalisation, regionalisation, the global financial crisis and the future of social democracy, democratic politics and the welfare state). Current or recently taught modules include:


Colin's research interests are diverse, ranging widely from the contemporary condition of political disaffection and disengagement which characterises the advanced liberal democracies, via the development of the state and the welfare state in the postwar period, the comparative political economy of neoliberalism, European integration and globalisation, and the political economy of price, preference and taste formation in the market for Bordeaux wines, to the ontological and epistemological foundations of political analysis. These seemingly disparate research strands are linked by a common concern to interrogate and elucidate the often complex and contingent processes of change which characterise the advanced liberal democracies, together with a desire to locate these polities and political economies within their broader comparative and international settings.

Key Projects and Grants

Title of Research: Anti-Politics
Awarding Body: ESRC
People Involved: with Gerry Stoker (University of Southampton) & the Hansard Society
Years funded for: 2 years
Amount: c. £100,000

Title of Research: Mapping Terrorist Risk Perceptions Comparatively
Awarding Body: EC Marie Curie
People Involved: with Andreas Gofas
Years funded for: 2 years
Amount: c. £200,000

Publications and Papers

View full list of publications

Key Publications

  • Developments in British Politics 9 (co-edited, Palgrave, 2011)
  • New Directions in Political Science (edited, Palgrave, 2010)
  • The Role of Ideas in Political Analysis (co-edited, Routledge, 2010)
  • Why We Hate Politics (Polity, 2007)
  • European Politics (co-edited Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • The State: Theories and Issues (co-edited, Palgrave, 2006)

Recent Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • The 2010 Leonard Schapiro Lecture, PSA Conference, Edinburgh.
  • British Academy Public Lecture, The Winter of Discontent 20 Years On (with commentaries by Lords Baker, Lea and Lipset), January 2009.
PhD Supervision Colin is enthusiastic to supervise PhD students in any of these (and, indeed, other related) areas. He has already supervised some 15 or so students to successful completion of their PhDs.

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