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Professor Kenneth Dyson

Professor of Politics

School of Law and Politics

Media commentator


My interests centre on the European state traditon, comparative and historical political economy, European Integration, and German studies. I have worked on cross-national comparisons of economic and monetary policies in Europe and most recntly on conservative liberalism and Ordo-liberaism. My research explore the complex interactions of ideas, institutions, and interests across space and over time, with a particular focus on underlying attitudes to public authority and its use. 

My book States, Debt, and Power: Saints and Sinners in European History and Integration (OUP) situates the current Euro Area crisis in historical perspective, using long-term data on debt and case studies from across Europe to identify patterns, continuities, and discontinuities. My next book Conservative Liberalism, Ordo-liberalism, and the State: Disciplining Democracy and the Market (OUP) uses origibal archival and elite einterview research to examine a neglected variant in studies of liberalism.

Over the last decade my research has been principally concerned with the historical evolution of European macro-economic governance and policies. This research has concentrated on  the euro as the most advanced project in European integration (10 books in total). I have examined its genesis, its negotiation, its governance, its effects on the balance between unitary and differentiated integration, accession issues especially relating to Central and Eastern Europe, its effects on EU member states, the political economy of time, and its reforms under conditions of crisis.

In 2016 I completed an international research project, led by me and  Professor Ivo Maes of the National Bank of Belgium, on Architects of the Euro: Intellectuals in the Making of European Monetary Union (OUP). My current research project focuses on the social liberalism, ethical socialism, and Christian social thought in the remaking of the European state since c. the 1880s.l















Book sections



The main focus of my research over the last decade has been on comparative and historical European research, designed to illutsrate longer-term patterns and discontinuities and to put the modern European state and European integration into a much longer and wider perspective. It is exemplified in three major projects. The first examined the role of debt and of creditor-debtor state diplomacy in European history from Ancient Greece to the modern state and the EU/euro area.The second looked at the intellectual roots of conservative liberalism and Ordo-liberalism in aristocratic liberal thought, in ethical philosophy, and in Lutheran and Reformed Protestant theology and their historical significance in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. Both projects led to publications with Oxford Universoty Press (2014 and 2021).

My new project examines the intelelctual founders of the social liberal tradition that emerged from c. the 1880s and its complex links to both ethical socialism and Christian social thought in the making of the modern European 'social state', with its normative characteristics of the benevolent state, activation of civil society, and moral capitalism. It compares Britain, France, German, Italy, and the Scandinavian countries. 

I also retain my research interest in the euro area with an emphasis on reforms to its institutional architecture and policy instruments, notably in response to the post-2008 sovereign debt and financial and economic crisis, the covid epidemic, and new geo-economic challenges. This follows on from my recent collaboration with Professor Ivo Maes (Louvain and the National Bank of Belgium) and reaches back to my book (with Kevin Featherstone) The Road to Maastricht and to my Elusive Union.


Selected Funded Projects

The UK's Role in European Economic Governance: Meeting the Challenge of Economic Reform Sponsor: European Commission

Value: £23,429

Duration: 2010-11

Architects of the Euro: Intellectuals as Policy Makers Sponsors: European Central Bank, the National Bank of Belgium, the Pierre Werner Fondation,and the Robert Triffin Foundation.

Value: £30,000

Duration: 2013-16


I have most recently taught comparative political economy; comparative public policy; German politics and policies; research methods; European economic governance and policies. My main teaching is at the Masters level. Past PhD students of mine have gone on to lectureships at Bradford, Cyprus, Hull, Manchester, Strathclyde and Westminster universities, as well as to a research institute in Athens.

I have recently supervised the following research students:

  • Sofia Chatzidi: ‘Regulating International Trade in Antiquities: Britain and Greece Compared’
  • Penny Evans: ‘Differentiated Integration in the European Union: The Case of the Aerospace Industry’
  • Andy Klom: ‘The European Union – Mercosur Negotiations 1990-2005: A Failed Exercise in Multilateral Negotiations or a Successful Attempt at Geopolitics?’
  • Ruth Mullineux: ‘The Political Impacts of Polish Migration in Wales’
  • Maciej Szczepanik: ‘The Europeanization of Constitutional Law in East Central Europe’
  • Nicholas Griffin: ‘State Capacity Building in the Ukraine’ (ESRC)


Career profile

I started my career as Lecturer (subsequently Senior Lecturer) in Politics at the University of Liverpool and was later Professor of European Studies at Bradford University and for ten years Head of Department. In the RAE 2001 the Bradford Department of European Studies gained the top 5* rating. I was also co-founder of the European Briefing Unit at Bradford University and research coordinator for the DES-funded PICKUP Europe project (£330,000). Visiting Professorships have included the Free University of Berlin (DAAD Distinguished Research Professor), Konstanz University, McMaster University (Distinguished Hooker Professor), and Siena University. I have chaired the Association for the Study of German Politics (ASGP), of which I was a founder, and the Standing Conference of Heads of European Studies (SCHES), of which I was also a founder. In 1996 and 2001 I chaired the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) Panel in European Studies and was a panel member in 1992. I am currently Honorary Visiting Professor at the universities of Leeds and Luxembourg.

Awards and prizes

I was awarded the German Federal Service Cross (First Class) for services to Anglo-German relations, and in 2003 given an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Aston University for services to European Studies. In 1997 I was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. I was also elected an Academician of the Learned Societies of the Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and in 2010 a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, of which I was a Council member. My book with Kevin Featherstone (The Road to Maastricht: Negotiating Economic and Monetary Union,OUP) was voted an academic ‘book of the year by the US library journal Choice. My bookThe State Tradition in Western Europehas been selected for re-publication in the ECPR Classics Series and most recently translated into Chinese. In 2003 the German Academic Exchange Service awarded me a Distinguished Visiting Research Professorship at the Free University Berlin. In 2014 the European Parliament choseThe Road to Maastricht as one of the top 100 must-read books on European integration. States, Debt, and Power was winner of the University Association for European Studies. (UACES) Best Book Prize in 2015.

Memberships/External Activities

Within the British Academy I am a member of Section S5 (Politics), was Section Research Grants Officer for Politics and International Relations (1998-2005), was a member of the Research Grants Committee (2002-7) and of the International Policy Committee (2003-11), and of the Academy EU Working Party and its Europe Panel. More recently, I have been a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, serving on its Council, Finance Committee, and Nominations Committee. I have briefed British Ambassadors and the Heads of Mission in Berlin before they took up posts. I have recently been involved in two EU FP6 programmes (EU CONSENT and EU INTUNE). Other activities include co-editing the journal German Politics and acting as editorial advisory member for theJournal of European Integration.I served as external advisers to the European Institute at the LSE, on promotions and strategic review at the LSE, and to Wolfgang Wessels’ chair at Cologne University. Since the RAE 2001 I have been invited to serve as an RAE consultant by Aston University, Liverpool University, London Metropolitan University, London School of Economics, Salford University, Surrey University, and Sussex University. I acted as consultant to the BBC2 series on the making of the euro. Recent PhD external examining includes Aalborg, Birmingham (two), LSE (two), Oxford, Sheffield, and University College London. Over recent years I have organized five major research conferences for the British Academy.


I was asked to speak at the centenary conference of the British Academy on Britain and Europe; at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office/UACES conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome; at an Austrian National Bank conference; at the Olaf Palme International Centre in Stockholm; at the Renner Institute in Vienna; at two EU-funded conferences in Istanbul on the EU and Turkey; at Karlstad University in Sweden; and have lectured at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Siena University, the IEP in Lille, Utrecht University and The Hague, and in Bratislava and Thessaloniki. Recent presentations have included Edinburgh and Hull universities. I have organized five international research workshops; in May 2009 on Euro Outsiders in the Crisis (FP6 funded); in September 2008 on differentiated integration in Europe (British Academy funded); in May 2007 on European Central Banking (FP6 funded); in May 2006 on European States and the Euro (FP6 funded); another on Economic Reform in Germany (Anglo-German Foundation funded); and two workshops on architects of the euro (British Academy and in Luxembourg).