Vikki Bell BA PhD

Position held:
Professor of Sociology,
Research Associate, Faculty of Humanities, Universidad de San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina

+44 (0)20 7919 7724

v.bell (

Processes of subjectification; ethics; the politics of aesthetics; transitional justice, focusing on Northern Ireland and Argentina; feminist theory; social theory especially the impact of Michel Foucault and Hannah Arendt.

BA (Hons) Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge University, 1988; PhD, Edinburgh University, 1991; Lecturer, Roehampton Institute, London, 1991-3; appointed Goldsmiths College, 1993.


Convenor of the MA Critical & Creative Analysis; post-graduate option 'Politics and Difference' (close readings of canonical thinkers of twentieth century and contemporary including Nietzsche, Adorno and Horkheimer, Arendt, Foucault, Agamben, Butler, Gilroy, Mbembe); undergraduate option 'Philosophy, Politics and Alterity'; convenor and contributor to first year core course 'Critical Readings' (Swift, Kant, Rousseau, Marx, Engels, de Beauvoir, Fanon, Foucault, Stuart Hall); contributor to MA degrees (critical and post-structuralist analyses of culture including Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Judith Butler; the methods of cultural analysis; the changing analysis of child sexual abuse).

To hear Vikki speak about the MA Critical & Creative Analysis see the video here:

Areas of supervision

I would be interested to supervise students within any of my research interests.

Research interests

  • Transitional Justice, especially in relation to Cultural Processes and Concepts of Peace, with specific interests in Northern Ireland and Argentina
  • Contemporary Social and Cultural Theory, with specific interests in the work of Michel Foucault and Hannah Arendt
  • Ethics and Aesthetics
  • Feminist Theory and the Politics of Difference
  • The Concept of Performativity and its Critique

2006-07: Funded research: A.H.R.C.  ''Justice Demands' and the Negotiated Process of Art-Work Production in Argentina and Northern Ireland'  Research Grants (Standard) Scheme (£31,901)

2011-12 Funded research: A.H.R.C. Fellowship 'Visual Art and Justice in Transitional Argentina (post 1983)' (App No: AH/I004335/1)

Editorial board member of international journals Theory, Culture & Society (1996-2010) and of Social and Legal Studies (2005-2009)

Selected publications

Number of items: 20.


Bell, Vikki. 2012. Declining Performativity: Butler, Whitehead and Ecologies of Concern. Theory, Culture & Society, 29(2), pp. 107-123. ISSN 0263-2764 [Article]

Bell, Vikki. 2011. Contemporary Art and Transitional Justice in Northern Ireland: The Consolation of Form. Journal of Visual Culture, 10(3), pp. 324-353. ISSN 1470-4129 [Article]

Bell, Vikki and Di Paolantonio, Mario. 2009. The Haunted Nomos: Activist-Artists and the (Im)possible Politics of Memory in Transitional Argentina. Cultural Politics, 5(2), pp. 149-178. ISSN 1743-2197 [Article]

Bell, Vikki. 2008. The Burden of Sensation and the Ethics of Form: Watching "Capturing the Friedmans". Theory, Culture and Society, 25(3), pp. 89-101. [Article]

Nash, Kate and Bell, Vikki. 2007. The Politics of Framing: An Interview with Nancy Fraser. Theory Culture & Society, 24(4), pp. 73-86. ISSN 14603616 [Article]

Bell, Vikki, Gonzalez, Maria Ana and Grinberg, Silvia. 2007. La promesa del liberalismo y la performance de la libertad. Revista Argentina de Sociologia , 5(9), ISSN 16679261 [Article]

Bell, Vikki. 2005. On the Critique of Secular Ethics: An Essay with Flannery O'Connor and Hannah Arendt. Theory, Culture and Society, 22(2), pp. 1-27. ISSN 0263-2764 [Article]

Bell, Vikki. 2005. The Scenography of Suicide: Terror, Politics and the Humiliated Witness. Economy and Society, 34(2), pp. 241-260. ISSN 0308-5147 [Article]

Campbell, Kirsten and Bell, Vikki. 2004. Out of Conflict: Peace, Change and Justice. Social and Legal Studies, 13(3), pp. 299-304. ISSN 0964-6639 [Article]

Bell, Vikki. 2004. Spectres of Peace: Civic Participation in Northern Ireland. Social and legal studies, 13(3), pp. 403-428. ISSN 0964-6639 [Article]


Book Section

Bell, Vikki. 1996. The Promise of Liberalism and the Practice of Freedom: On Foucault and Arendt. In: Andrew Barry, Thomas Osborne and Nicolas Rose, eds. Foucault and Political Reason. London: UCL Press/Taylor and Francis, pp. 81-97. ISBN 1857284321 [Book Section]

Conference or Workshop Item

Bell, Vikki. 2006. 'The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: On Agamben'. In: MESEA conference. Pamplona, Spain July 2006. [Conference or Workshop Item]

Edited Journal

This list was generated on Tue Mar 31 12:35:22 2015 BST.


  • Culture & Performance: The Challenge of Ethics, Politics and Feminist Theory (2007) Oxford: Berg
  • Feminist Imagination: Genealogies in Feminist Theory (1999) Sage: London ISBN 0 8039 7971
  • Belonging and Performativity (edited collection) (1999) Sage: London ISBN 076196522-X
  • Interrogating Incest: Feminism, Foucault and the Law (1993) London: Routledge

Chapters in Books

  • ‘After Performativity: On Concern and Critique’ in Faber, Roland and Michael Halewood (editors) On the Occasion: Butler on Whitehead (forthcoming, 2012) New York: Lexington Books.
  • ‘Afterword: The Politics of Memory in the Long Present of the Southern Cone’ in Lessa, F. and Druliolle, V. (eds) (2011) Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan
  • ‘Photo-Image’ in Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford (eds) Inventive Methods (forthcoming, 2012, CRESC/Routledge) (Chapter on James Agee and Walker
    Evans’ ‘Now Let Us Praise Famous Men’ 1941)
  • ‘Afterword: The Politics of Memory in the Long Present of the Southern Cone’ in Lessa, Francesca and Vincent Druliolle (editors) (2011) Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan
  • ‘After Performativity: On Concern and Critique’ in Faber, R., Halewood, M. and D. Lin (editors) On the Occasion: Butler on Whitehead (forthcoming, 2011) New York: Rodopi


  • 'Dialogues with Dictators, Cute Christianity and the Pull of Imaginary Planets: The Changing Aesthetics of Critique in the Art of León Ferrari’ Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (submitted 2011)
  • ‘Declining Performativity: Butler, Whitehead and Ecologies of Concern’ (forthcoming, 2012) Theory, Culture & Society Volume 29:2
  • ‘On Fernando’s Photograph: On the Bio-Politics of Aparición in Contemporary Argentina’ Theory, Culture & Society (2010) Vol 27: 4 pp69-89.  Translated into Spanish for Argentina journal Revista Espacios Nueva Serie ISSN 1669-8517 (2012) and into Swedish for journal Glänta (2010)
  • ‘Contemporary Art and Transitional Justice in Northern Ireland: The Consolation of Form’ (forthcoming, 2011) Journal of Visual Culture Vol10:3
  • ‘Declining Performativity, or Ecologies of Concern: Elaborations on a Concept’ (under revision, forthcoming, 2011) Theory, Culture & Society
  • ‘New Scenes of Vulnerability, Agency and Plurality: An Interview with Judith Butler’ Theory, Culture & Society (2010) Theory, Culture & Society, 27:1 pp130-152
  • ‘On Fernando’s Photograph: On the Bio-Politics of Aparición in Contemporary Argentina’ Theory, Culture & Society 2010 Vol 27: 4 pp69-89
  • The above translated into Spanish for Argentine journal Revista Espacios Nueva Serie ISSN 1669-8517 (2011)
  • ‘The Haunted Nomos: Activist-Artists and the Impossible Politics of Memory in Transitional Argentina’ with Mario Di Paolantonio Cultural Politics 2009 Vol5:2 pp149-178
  • The above translated into Spanish for international edited collection arising from Latin American Cultural Studies faculty of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (editors: Marta Casaus and Clara Gravelli, 2011) Madrid: Verbum.
  • ‘From Performativity to Ecology: On Judith Butler and Matters of Survival’ Subjectivity Issue 24 2008 1755-6341
  • ‘The Burden of Sensation and the Ethics of Form: Watching ‘Capturing the Friedmans’’ Theory, Culture & Society  2008 Vol 25:3
  • 'Performativity' Entry Theory, Culture & Society Special Issue: Problematising Global Knowledge Vol 23 2006
  • 'The Scenography of Suicide: Horror and the Humiliated Witness' Economy & Society Vol 34 (2005)
  • 'On Secular Ethics: An Essay with Flannery O'Connor and Hannah Arendt' Theory, Culture & Society Vol 22 (2005)
  • 'Out of Conflict: Peace, Change and Justice' Introduction to Special Issue (with Kirsten Campbell) Social and Legal Studies pp299-304 0964-6639
  • 'Spectres of Peace: Civic Participation in Northern Ireland' Social and Legal Studies Volume 13: 3 (September 2004) pp403-428 0964-6639
  • 'The Vigilant(e) Parent and the Paedophile: The News of the World Campaign 2000 and the Contemporary Governmentality of Child Sexual Abuse' in Reavey, Paula and Sam Warner (eds) New Feminist Stories of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Scripts and Dangerous Dialogues (Routledge, 2003) 0415259444
  • 'Reading Macey, Reflecting on Fanon' Essay and round table discussant of David Macey's Frantz Fanon: A Life (Granta, 2000) in New Formations (2002) 085315-939
  • 'The Violence and the Appeal of Raciologies: Colonialism, Camps and Cosmopolitan Utopias' Review essay of David Macey's Frantz Fanon and Paul Gilroy's Between Camps in Theory, Culture & Society (2002) vol 19:4 pp245-254 0263-2764
  • 'On Genealogy and Generation: On Levinas, Chaining and the Child' Parallax 2002 Vol 8 (3) pp19-33 1353-4645
  • 'Feminist Thought and the Totalitarian Interloper: On Rhetoric and the Fear of 'Dangerous Thinking'' Economy & Society Vol 31 (4) November 2002 pp573-87 0308-5147
  • 'The Phone, the Father and Other Becomings: On Households (and Theories) that no longer Hold' Cultural Values Vol 5 (3) 2001 1362-5179
  • 'Negotiating and Narrating Emplacement: Belonging and Conflict in Northern Ireland' New Formations Spring No 41 2001 pp61-86 0-85315-939-4
  • 'On Ethics and Feminism: Reflecting on Levinas' Ethics of Non-(in)difference' Feminist Theory Vol 2 (2) 2001 pp159-171 1464-7001(200108)2:2; I-V
  • 'Mimesis and Cultural Survival' Theory, Culture & Society (1999) Vol 16: 2 0263-2764

Editorship of Special Issues and Sections of Journals:

  • Theory, Culture & Society 2010 Annual Review (double issue) Sections include: 'Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth: Fifty years On' with essays by Paul Gilroy, Ghassan Hage, David Macey, Maliq Simone, Mohammed Bamyeh, Francoise Verges, Azzedine Haddour; 'Photography and the State' (co-edited with Jennifer Bajorek) and 'Global Public Life'
  • Economy & Society 1995 'Alternative Political Imaginations' (with Nikolas Rose and Andrew Barry)
  • Theory, Culture & Society 1999 'Belonging and Performativity'
  • Social and Legal Studies 2004 'Out of Conflict: Peace, Justice and Social Change'

Recent Art Writings:

  • ‘Of Footsteps and Shadows: On Graciela Sacco’  in Sacco, G. M2 2009
  • ‘Illusio and Mimesis in the Age of the Avatar: The Skater - On Wendy McMurdo’s Photography’ 2009 Ffoto Gallery: Cardiff
  • 'Rita Duffy: Cuchulain Comforted' Exhibition catalogue essay MCAC: Portadown, Northern Ireland April 2007
  • 'On Wendy McMurdo's 'Wrecks of Scapa'' FOAM Photography Magazine Number 10, Spring 2007
  • 'Painting and Politics: Between Argentina and Northern Ireland. An Essay on Rita Duffy and Daniel Garcia' CIRCA Art Magazine Dublin, Ireland Autumn 2007

Recent papers:

  • Open University, UK.  OECUMENE Project.  Invited Seminar on 'Foucault, Iran and our Contemporary 'Arab Spring'' May 2011
  • Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CIVALS), Birkbeck College, University of London.  Invited speaker in seminar series. Paper title: ‘Writing to Dictators, Joking with Injustice: Aesthetics of Critique in the Art of León Ferrari', March 2011
  • Photo-Lexic Research Group, Day Conference hosted by Goldsmiths Architectural. Research, London.  Invited participant. Paper title: ‘Appearance’, March 2011
  • University of Westminster Centre for the Study of Democracy. Day Conference: An Encounter with Judith Butler. Invited Speaker.  Paper title: ‘Judith Butler’s Subject’, February 2011
  • University of Utrecht, Netherlands Critical Legal Conference 2010 Invited Contribution to Roundtable Plenary on Critical Work in the Academy Paper title: ‘Genealogy and Critique’. Parallel session Paper title: ‘The Bio-Politics of Aparición in Argentina’ September 2010
  • University of London, Senate House. Series: Fraternity and Fratricide (Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series). Paper title: ‘The Contemporary Politics of Aparicion in Argentina’ June 2010
  • Law & Society Conference, Chicago. Invited Response to Boaventura de Sousa Santos. Paper Title: ‘Art & Critique: The Work of Three Argentine Artists’ May 2010
  • University of Gothenberg (invited speaker). Paper title: ‘Governmentality and Methodology’ May 2010
  • Newcastle University, Department of Sociology. Paper title: ‘Introduction: Feminism, Affect, Relationality’ March 2010
  • University of Barcelona  ‘Topologies’ Conference ATACD International Conference. Paper title: ‘On Concern and Cutting: Thinking through the Critique of Performativity’ December 2009
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. El III Seminario Internacional de Estudios Culturales, Faculty of Philosophy And Letters. Paper title: Philosophies and Politics: On Performativity October 2009
  • Stockhölm University ‘Bio-Politics and Modernity’ Conference. Plenary Speaker. Paper title: ‘On Fernando’s Photograph: The Bio-politics of Aparicion in Contemporary Argentina’ September 2009
  • 10th Anniversary SKOK Feminist Theory Conference ‘Theory Now'. University of Bergen, Norway (Plenary speaker) Paper title: ‘On Matters of Survival: After Performativity’ May 2009
  • University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Filosofia y Letres
  • Paper title:  In the Name of Foucault' Intensive doctoral seminar series on bio-politics April 2009
  • International Conference and Joint Annual Meetings of the Law and Society Association and the Research Committee on Sociology of Law 'Law and Society in the 21st Century' Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. Paper title (with Mario DiPaolantonio): 'Aesthetics, Law and the Nomos: Artworks in Transitional Argentina' July 2007
  • Humanities Symposium Columbia University, New York, U.S.A. Paper title: 'Aesthetics, Politics and Potentiality: Contemporary Art in Northern Ireland and Argentina' February 2007
  • 4th International Language, Culture and Communication Conference' University of Lusofona, Lisbon, Portugal. Paper title: 'Aesthetics and the Temporalities of Politics' (Plenary), November 2006
  • International Sociological Association Congress, Durban, South Africa. Paper title: 'Reading the Laming Report (on the Death of Victoria Climbie): Thinking Ethics in the Global Assemblage' July 2006
  • University of Cambridge MESEA Conference, Pamplona, Spain. Paper title: 'The Production of Bare Life: On The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes 2005' May 2006


Content last modified: 03 Jun 2013

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