Kate Nash BSc PhD

Kate works on cultural politics - how does meaning-making establish and challenge (more or less unequal, violent) social orders.

Staff details

Kate Nash BSc PhD






k.nash (@gold.ac.uk)

Kate has a long-standing interest in developing inter-disciplinary conversations in which the sociological imagination is valued and put to work. She has contributed to debates in political sociology, normative political theory, feminist theory and media studies, particularly in terms of debates around citizenship and human rights. The thread that runs through Kate’s work is ‘cultural politics’ – an understanding in which ‘culture’ is taken as ‘signifying practices’, crucial to establishing (more or less unjust and unequal) social order (and not confined to the realm of ‘culture’ interpreted narrowly).

For a number of years now, Kate has been focussing on the study of human rights, an area in which, until recently, sociologists had relatively little to contribute directly (though cultural sociologists have influenced work on human rights indirectly through IR). The Cultural Politics of Human Rights (CUP 2009) and The Political Sociology of Human Rights (CUP 2015) are contributions to this growing area of interest amongst sociologists.

Kate is currently researching narratives of feature-length human rights films and the processes of production, distribution and consumption through which they are developed. In her article published in Public Culture in 2018, she argues that these films are generally organised around a narrative of self-responsibilisation – regardless of any commitment the viewer may make then to either organised political action or to ethical deconstruction of a film’s narrative. It is in this way that human rights films contribute to transnational human rights culture. Kate is co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths, where she has been helping to organise the Human Rights Film Series for a number of years as well as discussions and conferences. She is also a Fellow of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. She been Visiting Professor at the New School for Social Research, New York; the Vincent Wright Professor at Sciences Po, Paris; Visiting Professor at the UN University for Peace, Costa Rica; and Leading Research Environment Guest Professor, Stockholm University.


Kate currently convenes and teaches on 'Constructing Human Rights', a core course of the MA in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice; and a third-year option 'Citizenship and Human Rights'. She supervises a number of MA dissertations each year, especially for students on the MA in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice.

Publications and research outputs


Nash, Kate. 2015. The Political Sociology of Human Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521148474

Nash, Kate. 2010. Contemporary Political Sociology: globalization, politics, power. Chichester, Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9781444330755

Nash, Kate. 2009. The Cultural Politics of Human Rights: Comparing the US and UK. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521618670; 9780521853521

Edited Book

Abraham-Hamanoiel, Alejandro; Freedman, Des (D. J.) ; Khiabany, Gholam; Nash, Kate and Petley, Julian, eds. 2017. Liberalism in Neoliberal Times: Dimensions, Contradictions, Limits. London: Goldsmiths Press. ISBN 978-1-906897-40-6

Nash, Kate, ed. 2014. Transnationalizing the Public Sphere? Cambridge: Polity. ISBN 9780745650586

Nash, Kate; Amenta, Edwin and Scott, Alan, eds. 2012. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Chichester, Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4443-3093-9

Book Section

Nash, Kate. 2021. Human Rights. In: Lilie Choularaki and Anne Vestergaard, eds. Routledge Handbook of Humanitarian Communication. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 54-65. ISBN 9781138230576

Nash, Kate. 2019. Human Rights, Global Justice, and the Limits of Law. In: Bardo Fassbender and Knut Traisbach, eds. The Limits of Human Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198824756

Nash, Kate. 2015. Is it social movements that construct human rights? In: , ed. The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 743-752. ISBN 978-0-19-967840-2


Nash, Kate. 2022. Beyond Suffering, Towards Justice? Human Rights Films and the Critique of Humanitarian Culture. Human Rights Quarterly, 44(4), pp. 784-805. ISSN 0275-0392

Nash, Kate. 2022. Knowing through human rights films. Human Rights Quarterly, 44(1), pp. 193-209. ISSN 0275-0392

Nash, Kate. 2019. Neo-liberalisation, Universities and the Values of Bureaucracy. The Sociological Review, 67(1), pp. 178-193. ISSN 0038-0261

Research Interests

  • Social, cultural and political theory;
  • Globalisation, cosmopolitanism and nationalism;
  • Citizenship and human rights;

Areas of supervision

Kate is especially interested in supervising PhD students working on issues of cultural politics in relation to human rights, citizenship, social movements and media.

Currently supervising

  • Marco Perolini ‘Migrant Mobilisations‘

Completed PhD students

  • Jaqueline Kinghan ‘Lawyers Changing Lives: A Contemporary History of Progressive Lawyers’ (CHASE-AHRC funded)
  • Miranda Iosoffidis '”Uprisings don’t enter musemus”: Invoking the 1973 Athens Polytechnic Uprising, A Study of Political Myths’ (ESRC Funded)
  • Hilde Stephenson 'Making global publics? Communication and knowledge production in the World Social Forum' (ESRC funded) 2011
  • Elisa Fiaccadori 'The War on Terror and the State of Exception' (ESRC Funded) 2011
  • Laurence Pawley '“Constructing the Audience”: Manifestations of Citizenship in the BBC' (ESRC funded) 2009
  • Jennie Munday 'Crisis in the Countryside? An Investigation of the Countryside Alliance as a Rural Social Movement' (ESRC funded) 2008
  • Madeleine Kennedy McFoy 'Situated Citizenships, Routed Belongings: Learning and Living French and British Citizenship at School' (ESRC funded) 2007
  • Francis R White 'British Indie Music In the 1990s: Public Spheres, Media and Exclusion' (ESRC funded) 2006
  • Heidi Lempp 'Medical Education: the Transition from Student to Pre-registrar Doctor' 2004.