Simon Reid-Henry

Research Professor


Twitter: @sreidhenry


Friday, 9 Jun 2023

Arendalsuka is an annual Norwegian political festival that brings together politicians, journalists, policy makers, aid organisations, civil society and the private sector. 

Actors come together for debate and policy shaping. Around 1,000 events and 200 stands fill the city of Arendal for five days in August each year. This year's festival takes place from 14-18 August.

Simon is a Senior Researcher at PRIO affiliated to the Dimensions of Security research programme. A geographer by training his research applies an interdisciplinary focus to the making and application of political, economic, technical and legal forms of knowledge in the world and their consequences for political thought and practice. This has been a consistent interest of his since his earliest work on the history and politics of alternative models of scientific innovation through to more recent examinations of the domains of humanitarianism, global health, development, migration, security, inequality and democracy.  Simon's work has been recognized for its methodological innovation, conceptual rigour, and empirical breadth via a number of academic fellowships and awards.

At PRIO he has most recently been engaged in two Norwegian Research Council funded projects: Armed Violence in Urban Areas (joint with NUPI) and Protection of Civilians, both funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Elsewhere he has been engaged in projects examining alternative (non-Rawlsian) framings of "global justice", as these have emerged in response to particular events and developments in world history, and not simply in relation to normative political philosophical reasoning, and in a re-reading of the work of influential "global" thinkers on justice and equality in the 20th century, particularly those like Gunnar Myrdal who specifically sought to tackle head on the emergence of global challenges to national political institutions.

Simon is currently completing a major historical work addressing the tension between freedom and equality in the liberal democratic west. Through a narrative reckoning with contemporary western liberal democracy, beginning in the crises of the 1970s and ending in the upheavals of the present moment, this major (700 pp) offers a coherent account of the major social, political-economic, and intellectual trends that have shaped the "post-Consensus era". The book follows on from his previous work on global inequality, The Political Origins of Inequality (Chicago UniversityPress, 2015) by focusing in detail on the political and intellectual context in which freedom came to be prioritized over equality in the contemporary liberal democratic world. Titled after de Tocqueville's prescient description, Empire of Democracy: Capitalism, Democracy, and the reinvention of the West (Simon & Schuster (US)/Doubleday (Canada)/Hodder (UK)) is due out in late 2018 and will be a major contribution to debates on democracy and contemporary political life.

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