Vikki Bell BA PhD

Staff details

Position Professor of Sociology
Department Sociology
Email v.bell (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7724
Vikki Bell BA PhD

Vikki Bell is the author of four monographs, including Culture and Performance (Bloomsbury, 2007). Widely published in peer-reviewed journals, she has addressed questions of ethics, aesthetics, subjectivity and politics across the social sciences and theoretical humanities. Recently her work has explored cultural-aesthetic aspects of transitional justice in Argentina, where the research has been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, and, in 2015-7, by the Economic & Social Research Council, a project which extended her empirical work to include Chile. Vikki’s most recent book is The Art of Post-Dictatorship: Ethics & Aesthetics in Transitional Argentina (Routledge, 2014). Her recent articles include ‘Entwined Tellings and the Fragility of the Unique: Relating Narratives of Detention and Survival in Pinochet’s Chile’, Third Text (2018) and ‘Between Documentality and Imagination: Five Theses on Curating the Violent Past’ Memory Studies (2018).


Vikki Bell is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She studied Social & Political Sciences at Cambridge and gained her PhD at Edinburgh University in 1992. She has taught across all levels at Goldsmiths since she joined in 1993, and has convened the MA Critical & Creative Analysis.

She has been a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley, University of California, Yale University, University of Buenos Aires and the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Oñati, Spain). Vikki is also a Research Associate in the Faculty of Humanities at Universidad de San Martin (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Research Interests

Vikki's research interests include:

  • Transitional Justice, especially in relation to Cultural Processes and Concepts of Peace, with specific interests in Northern Ireland, Argentina and Chile
  • 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

Funded research projects

2018-2020 British Academy Sustainable Development Programme ‘Documentality & Display: Archiving and Curating the Violent Past in Argentina, Chile and Colombia’ PI leading team of four including Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, and partners in Chile and Colombia £290,855.37 (Grant: SDP2@242)

2019-2020 Newton Prize award ‘Documenting the Past for the Sake of the Future’ £200,000. This award was the Chair’s award. Project was chosen unanimously by the Selection Committee chaired by Sir Venki Ramakrishnan. Presented December 2018.

2019-2022 CONICYT, Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnologíca, Chile. ‘Political Technologies of Memory: Contemporary Uses and Appropriations of Past Human Rights Violations Registry Devices in Chile’ Three year multi-disciplinary research team (PI: Oriana Bernasconi). With Museum of Memory and Human Rights and Human Rights Observatory (Universidad de Diego Portales)

Publications and research outputs


Bell, Vikki. 2014. The Art of Post-Dictatorship: Ethics and Aesthetics in Transitional Argentina. Abingdon: Routledge, a GlassHouse Book. ISBN 9781138100220

Bell, Vikki; Drake, David and Edgar, Lisa. 2009. The Skater: Wendy McMurdo. Cardiff: Ffotogallery. ISBN 978-1872771731

Bell, Vikki. 2007. Culture and Performance: The Challenge of Ethics, Politics and Feminist Theory. Berg. ISBN 9781845201050

Bell, Vikki. 1999. Feminist Imagination: Genealogies in Feminist Theory. London: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-0803979710

Bell, Vikki. 1993. Interrogating Incest: Feminism, Foucault and the Law. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415101042


Bell, Vikki. 2021. Documenting Dictatorship: Writing and Resistance in Chile's Vicaría de la Solidaridad. Theory, Culture & Society, 38(1), pp. 53-78. ISSN 0263-2764

Bell, Vikki. 2020. ‘Always another breath in my breath’: on Denise Riley, the polyvocality of the subject and poetry. Feminist Theory, 21(3), pp. 317-329. ISSN 1464-7001

Bell, Vikki and Paolantonio, Mario Di. 2018. Presenting the (Dictatorial) Past in Contemporary Argentina: Truth Forums and Arts of Dramatization. Social & Legal Studies, 27(5), pp. 572-595. ISSN 0964-6639

Bell, Vikki. 2018. Entwined Tellings and the Fragility of the Unique: Relating Narratives of Detention and Survival in Pinochet’s Chile. Third Text, 32(1), pp. 125-149. ISSN 0952-8822

Bell, Vikki. 2018. Between Documentality and Imagination: Five Theses on Curating the Violent Past. Memory Studies, 11(2), pp. 137-155. ISSN 1750-6980

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

Bell, Vikki. 2012. Writing to the General, and Other Aesthetic Strategies of Critique: The Art of León Ferrari as a Practice of Freedom. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 21(2), pp. 253-285. ISSN 1356-9325

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

Bell, Vikki. 2010. On Fernando's Photograph: The Biopolitics of Aparicion in Contemporary Argentina. Theory, Culture & Society, 27(4), pp. 69-89. ISSN 0263-2764

Bell, Vikki. 2010. New Scenes of Vulnerability, Agency and Plurality: An Interview with Judith Butler. Theory, Culture & Society, 27(1), pp. 130-152. ISSN 0263-2764

Bell, Vikki. 2009. Book Review: Who Sings the Nation-State?: Judith Butler and Gayatri Spivak Calcutta, New York, Oxford: Seagull Books, 2007, pp. 121. Theory, Culture & Society, 26(5), pp. 151-156. ISSN 0263-2764

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

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.

Bell, Vikki. 2008. From Performativity to Ecology: On Judith Butler and Matters of Survival. Subjectivity, 25, pp. 395-412. ISSN 1755-6341

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

Bell, Vikki. 2007. 'Rita Duffy: Cuchulain Comforted'. Exhibition catalogue essay MCAC: Portadown,

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

Bell, Vikki. 2007. 'On Wendy McMurdo's 'Wrecks of Scapa''. FOAM Photography Magazine, 10,

Bell, Vikki. 2007. 'Painting and Politics: Between Argentina and Northern Ireland. An Essay on Rita Duffy and Daniel Garcia'. CIRCA Art Magazine,

Bell, Vikki. 2007. Special Section: Transnational Public Sphere: The Potential of an "Unfolding Constellation": Imagining Fraser's Transnational Public Sphere. Theory, Culture and Society, 24(4), pp. 1-5.

Bell, Vikki. 2006. Performative Knowledge. Theory, Culture and Society, 23(2-3), pp. 214-217. ISSN 0263-2764

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

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

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

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

Bell, Vikki. 2002. 'Feminist Thought and the Totalitarian Interloper: On Rhetoric and the Fear of 'Dangerous Thinking''. Economy & Society, 31(4), pp. 573-587. ISSN 0308-5147

Bell, Vikki. 2002. 'On Genealogy and Generation: On Levinas, Chaining and the Child'. Parallax, 8(3), pp. 19-33. ISSN 1353-4645

Bell, Vikki. 2002. 'Reading Macey, Reflecting on Fanon' Essay and round table discussant of David Macey's Frantz Fanon: A Life (Granta, 2000). New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory, Politics, ISSN 0950-2378

Bell, Vikki. 2002. The Vigilant(e) Parent and the Paedophile: The News of the World Campaign 2000 and the Contemporary Governmentality of Child Sexual Abuse. Feminist Theory, 3(1), ISSN 1464-7001

Bell, Vikki. 2002. The Violence and the Appeal of Raciologies: Colonialism, Camps and Cosmopolitan Utopias. Theory, Culture and Society, 19(4), pp. 245-254. ISSN 0263-2764

Bell, Vikki. 2001. 'Negotiating and Narrating Emplacement: Belonging and Conflict in Northern Ireland'. New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory, Politics, 41, pp. 61-86. ISSN 0950-2378

Bell, Vikki. 2001. On ethics and feminism Reflecting on Levinas’ ethics of non-(in)difference. Feminist Theory, 2(2), pp. 159-171. ISSN 1464-7001

Bell, Vikki. 2001. The Phone, the Father and Other Becomings: On Households (and Theories) that no longer Hold. Cultural Values, 5(3), pp. 383-402. ISSN 13

Bell, Vikki. 1999. Mimesis as Cultural Survival: Judith Butler and Anti-Semitism. Theory, Culture and Society, 16(2), pp. 133-161. ISSN 0263-2764

Bell, Vikki; Rose, Nikolas and Barry, Andrew. 1995. 'Alternative Political Imaginations' Introduction. Economy & Society, 24(4), ISSN 0308-5147

Book Section

Bell, Vikki. 2017. On Isabelle Stengers’ ‘Cosmopolitics’: A Speculative Adventure. In: Alex Wilkie; Martin Savransky and Marsha Rosengarten, eds. Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138688360

Bell, Vikki. 2016. ‘A Present Moment, More Present: John Berger’s Politics of Intensity’. In: Yasmin Gunaratnam and Amarjit Chandan, eds. A Jar of Wild Flowers: Essays in Honour of John Berger. London: Zed. ISBN 9781783608799

Bell, Vikki. 2013. Photo-Image. In: Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford, eds. Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social (Culture, Economy, and the Social). Routledge, pp. 147-162. ISBN 978-0415721103

Bell, Vikki. 2012. After Performativity: On Concern and Critique. In: Roland Faber; Michael Halewood and Deena Lin, eds. Butler on Whitehead: On the Occasion. New York: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0739172766

Bell, Vikki. 2011. Afterword: The Politics of Memory in the Long Present of the Southern Cone. In: Francesca Lessa and Vincent Druliolle, eds. The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 209-222. ISBN 978-0230110144

Bell, Vikki. 2009. Of Footsteps and Shadows: On Graciela Sacco. In: Graciela Sacco, ed. M2. ISBN 978-9872336363

Bell, Vikki. 2007. Performativity Challenged? Creativity and the Return of Interiority. In: , ed. Culture and Performance. Oxford: Berg, pp. 97-120. ISBN 9781845201050

Bell, Vikki. 2002. 'The Vigilant(e) Parent and the Paedophile: The News of the World Campaign 2000 and the Contemporary Governmentality of Child Sexual Abuse'. In: Paula Reavey and Sam Warner, eds. ) New Feminist Stories of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Scripts and Dangerous Dialogues. Routledge, pp. 108-127. ISBN 978-0415259446

Bell, Vikki. 1999. "Appearance: Thinking Difference in the Political Realm with Hannah Arendt". In: , ed. Feminist Imagination: Genealogies in Feminist Theory. London: Sage, pp. 62-84. ISBN 0803979711

Ahmed, Sara. 1999. Passing Through Hybridity. In: Vikki Bell, ed. Performativity & Belonging. SAGE Publications, pp. 87-106. ISBN 978-0761965237

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

Edited Journal

Bell, Vikki, ed. 2010. Theory, Culture & Society 2010 Annual Review (double issue), Theory, Culture & Society, 27(7-8). 0263-2764

Campbell, Kirsten and Bell, Vikki, eds. 2004. Out of Conflict: Peace, Change and Justice, Social and legal studies, 13(3). 0964-6639

Bell, Vikki, ed. 1999. Performativity and Belonging An Introduction, Theory, Culture & Society, 16(2). 0263-2764

Conference or Workshop Item

Bell, Vikki. 2022. 'On Graciela Sacco'. In: Graciela Sacco: A Life of Interferences. Ubicua Gallery, London, United Kingdom 2 September 2022.

Bell, Vikki. 2011. ''Foucault, Iran and our Contemporary 'Arab Spring'''. In: . OECUMENE Project. Invited Seminar on 'Foucault, Iran and our Contemporary 'Arab Spring''. Open University, United Kingdom May 2011.

Bell, Vikki. 2011. 'Appearance'. In: Photo-Lexic Research Group, Day Conference hosted by Goldsmiths Architectural. Research. Goldsmiths Architectural. Research, London, United Kingdom March 2011.

Bell, Vikki. 2011. '‘Writing to Dictators, Joking with Injustice: Aesthetics of Critique in the Art of León Ferrari''. In: seminar series Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CIVALS). Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CIVALS), Birkbeck College, University of London, United Kingdom March 2011.

Bell, Vikki. 2011. 'Judith Butler’s Subject'. In: An Encounter with Judith Butler. University of Westminster Centre for the Study of Democracy, United Kingdom February 2011.

Bell, Vikki. 2010. ''Genealogy and Critique’. Parallel session Paper title: ‘The Bio-Politics of Aparición in Argentina’'. In: University of Utrecht, Netherlands Critical Legal Conference 2010 Invited Contribution to Roundtable Plenary on Critical Work in the Academy Paper. University of Utrecht, Netherlands September 2010.

Bell, Vikki. 2010. 'The Contemporary Politics of Aparicion in Argentina'. In: Series: Fraternity and Fratricide (Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series).. University of London, Senate House, United Kingdom June 2010.

Bell, Vikki. 2010. ''Art & Critique: The Work of Three Argentine Artists’'. In: Law & Society Conference. Chicago, United States May 2010.

Bell, Vikki. 2010. ''Governmentality and Methodology’'. In: UNSPECIFIED. University of Gothenberg, Sweden May 2010.

Bell, Vikki. 2010. '‘Introduction: Feminism, Affect, Relationality’'. In: UNSPECIFIED. Newcastle University, Department of Sociology, United Kingdom March 2010.

Bell, Vikki. 2009. '‘On Concern and Cutting: Thinking through the Critique of Performativity’'. In: ‘Topologies’ Conference ATACD International Conference. University of Barcelona, Spain December 2009.

Bell, Vikki. 2009. 'Philosophies and Politics: On Performativity'. In: El III Seminario Internacional de Estudios Culturales. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. El III Seminario Internacional de Estudios Culturales, Faculty of Philosophy And Letters, Spain October 2009.

Bell, Vikki. 2009. '‘On Fernando’s Photograph: The Bio-politics of Aparicion in Contemporary Argentina’'. In: ‘Bio-Politics and Modernity’ Conference. Stockhölm University, Sweden September 2009.

Bell, Vikki. 2009. '‘On Matters of Survival: After Performativity’'. In: 10th Anniversary SKOK Feminist Theory Conference ‘Theory Now'. University of Bergen, Norway May 2009.

Bell, Vikki. 2009. ''In the Name of Foucault''. In: Intensive doctoral seminar series on bio-politics. University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Filosofia y Letres, Argentina April 2009.

Bell, Vikki and Di Paolantonio, Mario. 2007. ''Aesthetics, Law and the Nomos: Artworks in Transitional Argentina''. In: 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 July 2007.

Bell, Vikki. 2007. ''Aesthetics, Politics and Potentiality: Contemporary Art in Northern Ireland and Argentina''. In: Humanities Symposium Columbia University. New York, United States February 2007.

Bell, Vikki. 2006. ''Aesthetics and the Temporalities of Politics''. In: 4th International Language, Culture and Communication Conference. University of Lusofona, Lisbon, Portugal November 2006.

Bell, Vikki. 2006. 'The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: On Agamben'. In: MESEA conference. Pamplona, Spain July 2006.

Bell, Vikki. 2006. ''Reading the Laming Report (on the Death of Victoria Climbie): Thinking Ethics in the Global Assemblage''. In: International Sociological Association Congress. Durban, South Africa July 2006.

Bell, Vikki. 2006. ''The Production of Bare Life: On The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes 2005''. In: University of Cambridge MESEA Conference. Pamplona, Spain May 2006.


Gunaratnam, Yasmin and Bell, Vikki. 2017. How John Berger Changed Our Way of Seeing Art.

Edited Book

Bell, Vikki, ed. 1999. Performativity & Belonging. London: Sage. ISBN 978-0761965237


Bell, Vikki; Bernasconi, Oriana; Hernández-García, Jaime and Sosa, Cecilia. 2021. Archivos de Violencia: Estudios de casos en América Latina. Project Report. Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

Bell, Vikki; Bernasconi, Oriana; Hernández-García, Jaime and Sosa, Cecilia. 2021. Archives of Violence: Case Studies from South America (2021). Project Report. Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

Bell, Vikki; Bernasconi, Oriana; Gomez, Cristina; Hernández-García, Jaime; Jaramillo, Jefferson; Lira, Elizabeth; López, Marisol; Roblez, Mitzi; Rojas, Hugo; Risco, Ana Maria; Ruiz, Jorge and Ruiz, Marcela. 2020. Guidelines and Recommendations on the Registry and Documentation of Forced Disappearances. Project Report. Santiago, Chile

Bell, Vikki. 1995. Show and Tell: Passing, Narrative and Toni Morrison’s Jazz. Working Paper. Goldsmiths, University of London, London.

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