Declan Sean Kenny

Declan Sean Kenny


My desire to continue researching global justice crystallised when completing my MA dissertation on the topic of ‘realising cosmopolitanism’. This research coincided with the rise of nationalism in the form of Donald Trump and Brexit, which reflected clear obstacles to realising any kind of cosmopolitan project. My views shifted, however, from seeing these events as unfortunate circumstances that somehow need to be circumvented to questioning whether these events pointed to a potential incoherence within cosmopolitan thought itself. Namely, the inability of cosmopolitanism, in its current form, to speak to the global structural injustices produced by globalisation, that on one level goes some way to explaining why people reject cosmopolitan ideas, but on another level reaffirmed the need to conduct further research into these matters. This motivated me to pursue doctoral research that would develop a cosmopolitanism fit for addressing the structural nature of global injustices. To do so, I am funded by the School of Politics and International Studies Postgraduate Research Excellence Scholarship 2018/19. 

Research interests

My doctoral thesis seeks to redress to the tendency within cosmopolitan thought to defend symptomatic global principles of justice that fail to meaningfully examine and challenge global structural injustices.  To do so, I am interested in the work of Iris Marion Young, in particular, her structural injustice framework. I suggest, however, Young’s model focusses on how global structural justices occur in the mechanical sense, but focusses less on the types of rules and norms widespread agential action occurs in accordance with. I argue that in order to provide a meaningful account of global structural injustices we must reflect upon neoliberal rules and norms and how they act as an ontological framework within which agential action takes place. 

My main research interests are: 

  • Contemporary Political Theory

I have taught on the POLIS module Freedom, Power and Resistance (2019-2020) and the SSP module Sociology of Modern Societies. 

I am currently an intern at the University of Leeds COP26 Taskforce. 


  • MA Politics (University of Sheffield 2016-17)
  • BA Political Science (University of Birmingham 2012-15)

Research groups and institutes

  • Political Theory and Cultural Values
  • Centre for Contemporary Political Theory