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. et al. (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.
  • Azmanova, A. (2016). Empowerment as Surrender: How Women Lost the Battle for Emancipation as They Won Equality and Inclusion. Social Research [Online] 83:749-776. Available at: http://www.socres.org/single-post/2016/11/30/Vol-83-No-3-Fall-2016---Forthcoming.
  • Azmanova, A. (2015). The Right to Politics and Republican Non-Domination. Philosophy and Social Criticism [Online] 42:465-475. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0191453715623394.
  • Azmanova, A. (2014). Crisis? Capitalism is Doing Very Well. How is Critical Theory? Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory [Online] 21:351-365. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8675.12101.
  • Azmanova, A. (2013). The Crisis of Europe: Democratic Deficit and Eroding Sovereignty – Not Guilt. Law and Critique [Online] 24:23-38. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10978-012-9112-y.
  • Azmanova, A. (2013). Political Judgment for Agonistic Democracy. No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice [Online]. Available at: http://www.helsinki.fi/nofo/NoFo10AZMANOVA.html.
  • Azmanova, A. (2013). The Crisis of Europe: Democratic Deficit and Eroding Sovereignty — Not Guilty. Law and Critique [Online] 24:23-38. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10978-012-9112-y.
  • Azmanova, A. (2012). De-gendering social justice in the 21st century: An immanent critique of neoliberal capitalism. European Journal of Social Theory [Online] 15:143-156. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368431011423576.
  • Azmanova, A. (2012). Social Justice and Varieties of Capitalism: An Immanent Critique. New Political Economy [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2011.606902.

Book section

  • 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.
  • Azmanova, A. (2014). Soziale Gerechtigkeit und die verschiedenen Varianten des Kapitalismus. in: Honneth, A. and Herzog, L. eds. Der Wert des Marktes. Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag. Available at: http://www.suhrkamp.de/buecher/der_wert_des_marktes-_29665.html.
  • Azmanova, A. (2013). The 'Crisis of Capitalism' and the State – More Powerful, Less Responsible, Invariably Legitimate. in: Onuf, N. et al. eds. Semantics of Statebuilding: Language, Meanings and Sovereignty. London: Routledge, pp. 150-162. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415817295/.
  • Azmanova, A. (2012). Social Harm, Political Judgment, and the Pragmatics of Universal Justification. in: Corradetti, C. ed. Philosophical Dimensions of Human Rights: some contemporary views. Springer, pp. 107-123. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2376-4_6.


  • Azmanova, A. (2012). The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment. [Online]. New York: Columbia University Press. Available at: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-15380-5/the-scandal-of-reason.

Visual media

  • Azmanova, A. (2011). On the Politics of Fear (interview). [Online]. Available at: http://www.resetdoc.org/story/00000021600/format/html.

Edited book

  • Azmanova, A. and Mihai, M. eds. (2015). Reclaiming Democracy: Judgment, Responsibility and the Right to Politics. [Online]. UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Reclaiming-Democracy-Judgment-Responsibility-and-the-Right-to-Politics/Azmanova-Mihai/p/book/9781138021990.
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