Dr Albena Azmanova



Dr. Azmanova is Reader (Associate Professor) of Political and Social Thought. She teaches courses in democratic theory and political economy. Her writing is dedicated to bringing the critique of political economy (back) into critical social theory. Her research ranges from democratic transition and consolidation to the dynamics of contemporary capitalism and its effect on ideological orientation and electoral mobilisation. Among her recent publications are The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment (Columbia University Press, 2012), Reclaiming Democracy: Judgment, Responsibility and the Right to Politics, ed. with Mihaela Mihai (Routhledge, 2015); "The Right to Politics", Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (2016), and "Empowerment as Surrender: how women lost the battle for emancipation as they won equality and inclusion,''  in Social Research 83/3 (Fall 2016). She is currently working on a book manuscript titled The Crisis of 'the Crisis of Capitalism' tracing the mutation of neoliberal capitalism into a novel modality.

After having taken active participation in the dissident movements that brought down the communist regime in her native Bulgaria in 1987-1990, she studied European Law at the University of Strasbourg, did her doctoral studies at the New School for Social Research in New York, and taught political theory at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po.) in Paris, before joining the BSIS in 2005, where she directs the programmes International Political Economy and Political Strategy and Communication. She has been working as a policy advisor to a number of international institutions such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the European Commission, and Transparency International.

Research Interests

Her research bridges political theory and sociology and centers on three clusters of issues: (1) the transformation of capitalism and related to it changes in political orientation and mobilisation, most recently focusing on a project for post-growth societies; (2) democratic transition and consolidation, with a focus on the post-communist societies of East and Central Europe and Asia; (3) theories of justice and judgment, with a focus on the relations between democratic decision-making and the imperatives of capitalist economies.


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository


  • Azmanova, A. (2018). The Populist Catharsis: On the Revival of the Political. Philosophy and Social Criticism [Online] 44:399-411. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453718760091.
  • Azmanova, A. (2018). Relational, structural and systemic forms of power: the ‘right to justification’ confronting three types of domination. Journal of Political Power [Online] 11:68-78. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/2158379X.2018.1433757.
  • Azmanova, A., Saar, M., Treiber, G., Dakwar, A., McAfee, N., Feenberg, A. and Allen, A. (2018). Emancipation, Progress, Critique: Debating Amy Allen’s The End of Progress. Contemporary Political Theory [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-018-0215-6.
  • Azmanova, A. (2017). Taking the Spanish government before the law. Taking the Spanish government before the law [Online] 12 Oct. Available at: https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/albena-azmanova/taking-spanish-government-before-law.
  • Azmanova, A. (2016). Empowerment as Surrender: How Women Lost the Struggle for Emancipation as They Won Equality and Inclusion. Social Research 83.

Book section

  • Azmanova, A. (2017). The Crisis of ’the Crisis of Europe’. In: Amin, A. and Lewis, P. eds. European Union and Disunion: Reflections on European Identity. London: British Academy, pp. 41-46. Available at: https://wolfgangstreeck.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/british-academy2017_european-union-and-disunion.pdf.
  • Azmanova, A. (2016). Democracy Against Social Reform: the Arab ‘Spring’ Faces its Demons. In: Mohammed Cherkaoui, Ed. What Is Enlightenment?: Continuity or Rupture in the Wake If the Arab Uprisings, London: Lexington Books (April 2016). London: Lexington books, pp. 239 -254. Available at: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780739193679/What-Is-Enlightenment?-Continuity-or-Rupture-in-the-Wake-of-the-Arab-Uprisings.


  • RAZAKAMAHARAVO, V. (2018). Unveiling the Puzzle of Conflict Recurrence through the Prism of Conflict Transformation. Madagascar: From the Colonial Period to 2016.
  • Kumar, R. (2017). Constructing Security: A Relational Mapping of the EU Security Market.

Internet publication

  • Azmanova, A. (2018). The European Left’s Machiavellian Moment: Notes on Costas Douzinas’ Syriza in Power. Reflections of an Accidental Politician [internet publication]. Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/albena-azmanova/european-left-s-machiavellian-moment-notes-on-costas-douzinas-syr.
  • Azmanova, A. (2018). Agent Sabina: On the Abjection of Julia Kristeva [internet publication]. Available at: https://www.eurozine.com/agent-sabina-abjection-julia-kristeva/.
  • Azmanova, A. and Spinelli, B. (2017). “Upholding the Rule of Law in the European Union”: An Open Letter to EU Presidents Juncker and Tusk [internet publication]. Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/barbara-spinelli-et-al/upholding-rule-of-law-in-european-union.
  • Azmanova, A. (2017). Abuse Of The Rule Of Law In The EU [internet publication]. Available at: https://www.socialeurope.eu/abuse-rule-law-european-union.


  • Azmanova, A. (2019). The clash that never was: Debating Islam, the myth of civilizations and democracy’s realities. Philosophy and Social Criticism [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0191453719839454.


  • Azmanova, A. (2019). The Costs of the Democratic Turn in Political Theory. In: Martill, B. ed. Theory As Ideology. Routledge.
  • Azmanova, A. (2019). Late Capitalism. In: Amy, A. and Eduardo, M. eds. The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316771303.
  • Azmanova, A. (2019). Andrew Arato. In: Allen, A. and Eduardo, M. eds. The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316771303.
  • Azmanova, A. (2019). Marx. In: Allen, A. and Mendieta, E. eds. The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316771303.
  • Azmanova, A. (2019). The Emancipation Paradox, Populism, and the Soul of the Left. Philosophy and Social Criticism.
  • Azmanova, A. (2018). Overcoming Capitalism: Without Crisis, Revolution, or Utopia. Columbia University Press.
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