Kent Law School

Critical perspectives research led teaching




Davina's first academic position was at University of Warwick Law School (from 1991-1998). She also completed her PhD there (in 1992), begun at the LSE. Davina then moved to Keele University (from 1998-2004), and for 3 1/2 years was Research Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences, prior to coming to University of Kent to establish the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality in 2004.

Her main areas of research sit at the interstices of socio-legal studies, political theory, social diversity and the transformational potential of state and non-state sites. Specifically, Davina has explored these themes in articles, book chapters and books over twenty years, including in: Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (2004); Governing out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (1998); Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (1995); and Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994). Her most recent book, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (2014) has just been published by Duke University Press.

More information on Davina's work in transformative politics is here and some examples of her media appearances are here. Davina blogs here.

Research Areas: Gender and Sexuality, Law, Politics and Culture, Legal Theories and Philosophy

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Headline Publication

Cooper, D. (2013) Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces. Duke. 296pp.


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Cooper, D. (2016). Prefiguring the State. Antipode.
Cooper, D. (2016). Retrieving the State for Radical Politics - A Conceptual and Playful Challenge. Journal of Social Policy Studies [Online] 14:409-422. Available at:
Cooper, D. and Renz, F. (2016). If the State Decertified Gender, What Might Happen to its Meaning and Value? Journal of Law and Society [Online] 43:483-505. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2016). Transformative State Publics. New Political Science [Online] 38:315-334. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2015). Bringing the State Up Conceptually: Forging a Body Politic through Anti-Gay Christian Refusal. Feminist Theory [Online] 16:87-107. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2013). Time against Time: Normative Temporalities and the Failure of Community Labour in Local Exchange trading Schemes. Time and Society [Online] 22:31-54. Available at:
Cooper, D. and Herman, D. (2013). Up Against the Property Logic of Equality Law: Conservative Christian Accommodation Claims and Gay Rights. Feminist Legal Studies [Online] 21:61-80. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2011). 'Reading the State as a Multi-Identity Formation: The Touch and Feel of Equality Governance' . Feminist Legal Studies 19:3-25.
Cooper, D. (2011). Theorising Nudist Equality: An Encounter between Political Fantasy and Public Appearance. Antipode 43:326-357.
Cooper, D. (2010). The Pain and the Power of Sexual Interests: A discussion of Janet Halley's Split Decisions. International Journal of Law in Context 6:94-99.
Cooper, D. (2009). Caring for Sex: The Power of Attentive Action in Forging Feminist Space. Signs 35:105-130.
Cooper, D. (2009). Caring for sex and the power of attentive action: Governance, drama, and conflict in building a queer feminist bathhouse. Signs 35:105-130.
Cooper, D. (2007). Being in Public: The Threat and the Promise of Stranger Contact. Law and Social Inquiry [Online] 32:203-232. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2007). Opening Up Ownership: Community Belonging, Belongings and the Productive Life of Property. Law and Social Inquiry [Online] 32:625-664. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2007). "Well, you go there to get off" Visiting Feminist Care Ethics through a Women's Bathhouse. Feminist Theory [Online] 8:243-262. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2006). "Sometimes a Community and sometimes a Battlefield": From the Comedic Public Sphere to the Commons of Speakers' Corner. Society and Space [Online] 24:753-775. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2006). Active Citizenship and the Governmentality of Local Lesbian and Gay Politics. Political Geography [Online] 25:921-943. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2004). Introduction. McGill Law Journal 49:809-814.
Cooper, D. and Monro, S. (2003). Governing from the Margins: Queering the State of Local Government. Contemporary Politics [Online] 9:229-255. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2002). Far Beyond "the Early Morning Crowing of a Farmyard Cock": Revisiting the Place of Nuisance within Political and Legal Discourse. Social and Legal Studies 11:5-36.
Cooper, D. (2001). Against the Current: Social Pathways and the Pursuit of Enduring Change. Feminist Legal Studies [Online] 9:119-148. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2000). Promoting Injury or Freedom: Radical Pluralism and Orthodox Jewish Symbolism. Ethnic and Racial Studies 23:1062-1085.
Cooper, D. (2000). "And You Can't Find Me Nowhere": Relocation Identity and Sructure within Equality Jurispredence. Journal of Law and Society 27:249-272.
Cooper, D. and Herman, D. (1999). Jews and other Uncertainties: Race, Faith and English Law. Legal Studies 19:339-366.
Cooper, D. (1998). Regard Between Stranger: Diversity, Equality and the Reconstruction of Public Space. Critical Social Policy 57:465-492.
Cooper, D. (1997). Governance Troubles: School Authority, Gender and Space. British Journal of Sociology of Education 18:501-517.
Cooper, D. (1997). Fiduciary Government: Decentering Property and Taxpayers' Interests. Social and Legal Studies 6:235-257.
Cooper, D. and Herman, D. (1997). Anarchic Armadas, Brussels Bureaucrats and the Valiant Maple Leaf: Sexuality, Governance, and the Construction of British Nationhood through the Canada-Spain Fish War. Legal Studies 17:415-433.
Cooper, D. (1997). "For the Sake of the Deer": Land, Local Government and the Hunt. Sociological Review 45:668-689.
Cooper, D. (1996). Talmudic Territory? Space, Law and Modernist Discourse. Journal of Law and Society 23:529-548.
Cooper, D. (1996). Institutional Illegality and Disobedience: Local Government Narratives. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 16:255-274.
Cooper, D. (1995). Local Government Legal Consciousness in the Shadow of Juridification. Journal of Law and Society 22:506-526.
Cooper, D. (1995). Defiance and Non-compliance: Religious Education and the Implementation Problem. Current Legal Problems 48:253-279.
Cooper, D. (1994). A Retreat from Feminism? British Municipal Lesbian Politics and Cross-gender Initiatives. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 7:431-453.
Cooper, D. (1994). Productive, Relational and Everywhere? Power and Resistance within Foucauldian Feminism. Sociology 28:435-454.
Cooper, D. (1993). The Citizen's Charter and Radical Democracy: Empowerment and Exclusion within Citizenship Discourse. Social and Legal Studies 2:149-171.
Cooper, D. (1993). An Engaged State: Sexuality, Governance and the Potential for Change. Journal of Law and Society 20:257-275.
Cooper, D. (1992). Off the Banner and onto the Agenda: The Development of a Municipal Lesbian and Gay Politics. Critical Social Policy 36:20-39.
Cooper, D. (1991). Getting "the Family Right": Legislating Heterosexuality in Britain, 1986-1991. Canadian Journal of Family Law 10:41-78.
Book section
Cooper, D. (2013). Public Bodies: Conceptualising Active Citizenship and the Embodied State. in: Roseneil, S. ed. Beyond Citizenship? Feminism and the Transformation of Belonging . Palgrave, pp. 112-137. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2012). Erotic care: A queer feminist bathhouse and the power of attentive action. in: Hines, S. and Taylor, Y. eds. Sexualities: Past reflections, future directions. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cooper, D. (2008). Intersectional Travels through Everyday Utopias: The Difference Sexual and Economic Dynamics make. in: Grabham, E. et al. eds. Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power and the Politics of Location. Routledge-Cavendish, pp. 299-325.
Cooper, D. (2007). Reading the government of sex through a feminist lens. in: Munro, V. and Stychin, C. eds. Sexuality and the Law: Feminist Engagements. London: Cavendish, pp. 999-999.
Cooper, D. (2002). Imagining the Place of the State: Where Governance and Social Power Meet. in: Richardson, D. and Seidman, S. eds. Handbook of Lesbian and Gay Studies. London: Sage Publishing.
Cooper, D. (2001). Like Counting Stars?: Re-Structuring Equality and the Socio-Legal Space of Same-sex Marriage. in: Wintemute, R. ed. Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Partnerships. Oxford: Hart Publications.
Cooper, D. (2001). Boundary Harms: From Community Protection to a Politics of Value, the Case of the Jewish Eruv. in: Hughes, G., McLaughlin, E. and Muncie, J. eds. New Directions in Crime Prevention and Community Safety. London: Sage Publishing.
Cooper, D. (2000). Local Government in the Shadow of Juridification. in: Stoker, G. ed. Community, Power and Participation: The Changing Local Government of Britain. London: Macmillan.
Cooper, D. (2000). "And was Jerusalem Builded Here?": Talmudic Territory and the Modernist Defensive. in: Adhar, R. ed. Law and Religion. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Cooper, D. (1999). Punishing Councils: Political Power, Solidarity and the Pursuit of Freedom. in: Millns, S. and Whitty, N. eds. Feminist Perspectives on Public Law. London: Cavendish.
Cooper, D. (1999). Private Country? Hunting, Land and Judicial Interventions. in: Holder, J. and McGillivray, D. eds. Locality and Identity: Environmental Issues in Law and Society. Dartmouth: Ashgate.
Cooper, D. (1997). At the Expense of Christianity: Backlash Discourse and Moral Panic. in: Roman, L. and Eyre, L. eds. Dangerous Territories! New York: Routledge.
Cooper, D. (1996). Strategies of Power: Legislating Worship and Religious Education. in: Lloyd, M. and Thacker, A. eds. The Impact of Michel Foucault on the Social Sciences. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Cooper, D. and Herman, D. (1995). Getting "the Family Right": Legislating Heterosexuality in Britain, 1986-91. in: Herman, D. and Stychin, C. eds. Legal Inversions. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Cooper, D. (1993). An Engaged State: Sexuality, Governance and the Potential for Change. in: Bristow, J. and Wilson, A. eds. Activating Theory. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Cooper, D. (1989). Positive Images in Haringey: A Struggle for Identity. in: Jones, C. and Mahony, P. eds. Learning Our Lines: Sexuality and Social Control in Education. London: Women's Press.
Cooper, D. (2013). Everyday Utopias: The conceptual life of promising spaces. [Online]. USA: Duke University Press. Available at:
Cooper, D. (2004). Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Cooper, D. (1998). Governing Out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging. New York, USA: Rivers Oram, London and New York University Press.
Cooper, D. (1995). Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State. Open University Press.
Cooper, D. (1994). Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics Within the Activist State. New York, USA: Rivers Oram, London and New York University Press.
Barker, N., Cooper, D. and Wilkinson, E. (2013). Memorandum submitted by Dr Davina Cooper, Dr Nicola Barker and Dr Eleanor Wilkinson (MB 54) Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013, Response (25 January 2013). [internet]. Available at:
Edited book
Grabham, E. et al. eds. (2009). Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power, and the Politics of Location. United Kingdom: Routledge-Cavendish.
Cooper, D. ed. (2009). Intimate Public Practices: A Methodological Challenge. Feminist Theory.
Showing 63 of 64 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Teaching and Supervision


Director of the AHRC Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality - 2004-2009


Davina is happy to offer supervision within:

  • Feminist theory,
  • Law & sexuality,
  • Normative political theory,
  • State theory,
  • Utopian studies,
  • Law & cultural geography,
  • Social theory

Completed Supervision:

  • E Grabham: PhD "Social incisions: theorising belonging through the body"
  • T Johnson: PhD "Sexuality and asylum: narrativising discourses of resistance through the imaginary domain"
  • S Keenan: MPhil "The study of women who claim refugee status on the basis of their sexuality"
  • S Lamble: MPhil "Transforming bodies of knowledge: transgender activism, antidiscrimination law and social movement politics in Canada"
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Other Academic Activities

Editorial Work

Davina is on various editorial/ international advisory boards, including:

  • Economy & Society,
  • Law & Society Review,
  • Davina is the editor (with Sarah Lamble) of a new interdisciplinary book series: Social Justice (Routledge)

Professional Societies

Davina is a member of the SLSA and SLS. Davina is a member of the Equality and Diversity Forum Research Network steering group.

External Appointments

  • ESRC Grants Board, 2001-2005;
  • Specialist Advisory to Education and Employment Parliamentary Select Committee, 2000-2002;
  • Magistrate 2000-2005;
  • Local Government Councillor, 1986-1990


Davina was Director of the AHRC Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality from 2002-2009.

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Last Updated: 13/01/2016