World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

David Held

David Held currently holds a joint appointment as Professor of Politics and International Relations, and Master of University College, at Durham University. He is also a visiting Professor of Political Science at Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli. Previously he was the Graham Wallas chair of Political Science and the co-director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at the London School of Economics.[1] He is a prominent British political theorist active in the field of political science and international relations. Together with Daniele Archibugi, he has been prominent in the development of cosmopolitanism, and of cosmopolitan democracy in particular. He has been an active scholar on issues of globalisation and global governance.


  • Biography 1
  • Research 2
  • Links to Libya 3
  • Selected bibliography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


David Held was born in Britain where he spent most of his childhood. He was educated in Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Upon completing his doctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he conducted post-doctoral research at Cambridge University. He has held numerous Visiting Appointments in the United States, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy, among other places.

David Held co-founded Polity press in 1984, which has become a leading publisher in the social sciences and humanities across the world. He is also the General Editor for Global Policy, an academic journal started in 2008 that focuses on bridging the gap between academics and practitioners on issues of global significance.

In January 2012, he succeeded Professor Maurice Tucker as Master of University College, Durham, alongside his chair in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University.[2]


Since his first book was published in 1980 (Introduction to Critical Theory), David Held has been pursuing a multilevel inquiry into the nature and changing form of national and international politics. This approach has involved three kinds of work. First, it has involved extensive empirical enquiry into the dynamic character, structural elements and governance failures of contemporary society. The empirical dimensions of his work have included books such as Global Transformations (1999), Globalization/Anti-globalization (2007), Global Inequality (2007) and Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need it Most (2013). These books map the changing global context of politics, how the world has become increasingly interconnected, and how failures of leadership and negotiation at the global level are creating a breakdown of multilateralism and global governance.

Second, he has been investigating the changing nature and form of the modern state and the locus of the political good. Held examines the question of whether the nation state alone, as typically assumed by political theory, can be the sole home of democracy, accountability and the rule of law. This has entailed a critical evaluation of the concepts of democracy, sovereignty, governance and cosmopolitanism, among other concepts. Books that have explored these themes include: Democracy in the Global Order (1999), Models of Democracy (2006), Cosmopolitanism: ideals and realities (2010).

The third element of Prof. Held’s current work is to explore how and in what ways one can move beyond the crises and dilemmas of politics and governance in the contemporary world. Books such as Global Covenant (2004), Debating Globalization (2005) and a wide range of academic articles set out the contours of a multiactor, multilevel democratic politics framed by the fundamental principles of democracy, justice and sustainability.

Accordingly, Held’s work explores, on the one hand, the shift in politics from nation states to what he calls a world of ‘overlapping communities of fate' (where the fortunes of countries are increasingly enmeshed) and, on the other hand, how democratic standards and cosmopolitan values can be entrenched in the global order. In pursuing this multilevel approach Prof. Held sees himself working within the classic tradition of political theory which has always been concerned with how to characterize the world in which we live, how to develop and reach normative goals such as liberty, democracy and social justice, and how to move from where we are to where we might like to be. Prof. Held’s response to this challenge is to explore the way globalization has altered the landscape of politics, how cosmopolitanism provides ideals that enable one to rethink politics and the political good, and to pursue political stepping stones that could help embed this agenda. He offers a contribution to a pressing dialogue of our times: how to resolve collective action problems, nationally and globally, through institutions and governance arrangements that enhance democracy, social justice and the participation of all citizens in a democratic public life.

Links to Libya

In March, 2011, Held's name came to be linked with the LSE Libya Links controversy. Held was an advisor of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who received his PhD from LSE in 2008.[3]

Selected bibliography


  • Held, David (1983). States and societies. New York: New York University Press.  
  • Held, David (2006) [1987]. Models of democracy (3rd ed.). Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.  
  • Held, David (1989). Political theory and the modern state: essays on state, power, and democracy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.  
  • Held, David; Thompson, John B. (1989). Social theory of modern societies: Anthony Giddens and his critics. Cambridge, UK New York, New York: Cambridge University Press.  
  • Held, David (1989). Introduction to critical theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. Berkeley: University of California Press.  
  • Held, David;  
  • Held, David (1993). Prospects for democracy : North, South, East, West. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David;  
  • Held, David (1995). Cosmopolitanism: an agenda for a new world order. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David;  
  • Held, David; Goldblatt, David; McGrew, Anthony; Perraton, Jonathan (1999). Global transformations: politics, economics and culture. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.  
  • Held, David (2000). A globalizing world?: Culture, economics, politics. London New York: Routledge in association with the Open University.  
  • Held, David; McGrew, Anthony (2007) [2002]. Globalization/anti-globalization: beyond the great divide (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias (2003). Taming globalization: frontiers of governance. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David (2004). Global covenant: the Social Democratic alternative to the Washington consensus. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias (2005). Global governance and public accountability. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.  
  • Held, David; Kaya, Ayse (2006). Global inequality: patterns and explanations. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; McGrew, Anthony (2007). Globalization theory: approaches and controversies. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Mepham, David (2007). Progressive foreign policy: new directions for the UK. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David;  
  • Held, David (2010). Cosmopolitanism: ideals and realities. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Coates-Ulrichsen, Kristian (2013). The end of the American Century: from 9/11 to the Arab Spring. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Roger, Charles; Nag, Eva-Maria (2013). Climate governance in the developing world. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Hale, Tom; Young, Kevin (2013). Gridlock: why global cooperation is failing when we need it most. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  
  • Held, David; Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias (2014). Global policy: power, governance and accountability. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.  (forthcoming)

Chapters in books

  • Held, David (2005), "Principles of the cosmopolitan order", in  

Journal articles

  • Held, David; Fane-Hervey, Angus (November 2009). "Democracy, climate change and global governance" (paper).   Pdf.
  • Held, David; Koenig-Archibugi, Mathias (Spring 2004). "Introduction".  
  • Held, David (Spring 2004). "Democratic accountability and political effectiveness from a cosmopolitan perspective".  


  1. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan (31 October 2011). "Academic linked to Gaddafi's fugitive son leaves LSE". The Guardian (London). 
  2. ^ Jonhson, Daniel (2 November 2011). "Former LSE academic linked to Gaddafi’s son made new Castle Master". Palatinate. 
  3. ^ Kristin Deasy. "'The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions.' Yes, Qaddafi Jnr. Wrote That" Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

External links

  • LSE Experts page
  • LSE Government Department
  • LUISS International Relations Master's Degree
  • Lord Woolf's Inquiry into the LSE and Libya, March, 2011. Make a submission.
  • Social Democracy Observatory
Academic offices
Preceded by
Eva Schumacher-Reid
Master of University College, Durham
Succeeded by
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.