Brussels School of International Studies

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Dr Albena Azmanova

Reader in Social and Political Thought

Brussels School of International Studies

Albena Azmanova is a Reader in Social and Political Thought. She convenes the MA in Political Strategy and Communication and the MA in International Political Economy and teaches the modules Political Strategy, State, Market and Society and the Politics of Globalisation.

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.

Office Hours:
Tuesday 13:00-14:00 and Wednesday 11.00 - 12.00.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Azmanova, A. (2012). The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment . [Online]. New York : Columbia University Press . Available at:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Azmanova, A. (2006). Democratization, Economic transition and sustainable development: A perspective from the EU's new member states. in: Pallemaerts, M. and Azmanova, A. eds. The European Union and Sustainable Development: Internal and External Diimensions. Brussels, Belgium: ASP Vub Press.
Azmanova, A. (2005). Le Potentiel Démocratique de la Constitution Européenne (ou Les Démocrates doivent-ils voter pour?). in: Reynie, D. ed. Les Européennes en 2005. Paris, France: Gallimard, Editions de la Table Ronde/Fondation Robert Schuman, pp. 137-149. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2016). Empowerment as Surrender: How Women Lost the Struggle for Emancipation as They Won Equality and Inclusion. Social Research [Online] 83. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2016). The Right to Politics and Republican Non-Domination. Philosophy and Social Criticism [Online] 42:465-475. Available at:
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:
Azmanova, A. (2013). Political Judgment for Agonistic Democracy. No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice [Online]. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2013). The Crisis of Europe: Democratic Deficit and Eroding Sovereignty Not Guilty. Law and Critique [Online] 24:23-38. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2013). The Crisis of Europe: Democratic Deficit and Eroding Sovereignty Not Guilt. Law and Critique [Online] 24:23-38. Available at:
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:
Azmanova, A. (2012). Social Justice and Varieties of Capitalism: An Immanent Critique. New Political Economy [Online]. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2011). "Against the Politics of Fear: On Deliberation, Inclusion, and the Political Economy of Trust". Philosophy and Social Criticism [Online] 37:401-412. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2011). After the LeftRight (Dis)continuum: Globalization and the Remaking of Europe's Ideological Geography. International Political Sociology [Online] 5:384-407. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2010). "Capitalism Reorganised: Social Justice after Neo-liberalism". Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory [Online] 17:390-406. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2009). 1989 and the European Social Model: Transition without emancipation? Philosophy and Social Criticism [Online] 35:1019-1037. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2009). 1989 and the Accidental Death of the European Social Model. Policy and Politics [Online] 37:611-615. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2004). Curbing the Deficit: Democracy After the European Constitution. Imprints [Online] vol.8:7-49. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2004). European Elections 1999-2005 and Europe's New Political Cultures. Challenge Europe.
Azmanova, A. (2004). The Mobilisation of the European Left in the Early 21st Century. European Journal of Sociology [Online] 45:273-306. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2004). Europe's Novel Political Cultures in the Early Twenty-first Century. Contemporary Politics [Online] 10:111-125. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2000). Bulgaria's Prospects for EU Membership. East European Constitutional Review [Online] 5. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (1992). Dictatorships of Freedom. Praxis International 12:145-157.
Edited book
Azmanova, A. and Mihai, M. eds. (2015). Reclaiming Democracy: Judgment, Responsibility and the Right to Politics. [Online]. UK: Routledge. Available at:
Hadfield, A. (2006). The Role of Energy in Sustainable Development: Greening the Environment and Securing Energy Supply. Pallemaerts, M. and Azmanova, A. eds. Brussels, Belgium: Brussels University Press.
Azmanova, A. and Pallemaerts, M. eds. (2006). The European Union and Sustainable Development: Internal and External Dimensions. Brussels, Belgium: Politeia/VUB Brussels University Press.
Conference or workshop item
Azmanova, A. (2011). Social Injustice and the Pragmatics of Universal Justification . in: APSA Annual meeting, Seattle 2011 .
Azmanova, A. (2007). On the EU-US special relationship: how the West can shape the global political economy in 16 years. in: Academia Diplomatica Europaea.
Azmanova, A. (2007). The risk-opportunity cleavage and the transformation of Europe's main political families . in: ECPR General Conference.
Azmanova, A. (2007). Risks, Opportunities and the Social Technology of Political Judgment in the Times of the New Economy . in: Annual Colloquium in Critical Theory.
Azmanova, A. (2006). Democratisation, Economic Transition and Sustainable Development. in: Lecture series 'The EU and Sustainable Development'. Brussels: Politeia/VUB Brussels University Press.
Visual media
Azmanova, A. (2011). On the Politics of Fear (interview). [Online]. Available at:
Azmanova, A. (2005). 30 Idées Pour Réveiller la Gauche. Libération.
Showing 36 of 44 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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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. back to top

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Last Updated: 21/04/2014