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Davina Cooper

Davina Cooper
Davina Cooper is Professor of Law and Political Theory at Kent Law School. Her first academic position was at University of Warwick Law School (from 1991-1998). She also completed her PhD there (in 1992), begun at the LSE. Davina then moved to Keele University (from 1998-2004), and for 3 years was Research Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences, prior to coming to University of Kent to establish the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality in 2004.

Her main areas of research sit at the interstices of socio-legal studies, political theory, social diversity and the transformational potential of state and non-state sites. Specifically, Davina has explored these themes in articles, book chapters and books over twenty years, including in: Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (2004); Governing out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (1998); Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (1995); and Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994). She is currently completing a book on rethinking concepts through everyday utopias (to be published by Duke University Press 2012).

Research Areas: Gender and Sexuality, Law, Politics and Culture, Legal Theories and Philosophy

Davina Cooper was on the panel of Equality versus Difference at The Great Debate: Whatever Happened to Equality? in November 2012.


Books by Davina Cooper

Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and 
the Value of Difference by Davina Cooper
Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference by Davina Cooper

What challenges are presented by the claim that diversity should be celebrated? How should equality politics respond to controversial constituencies, such as smokers and sports hunters, when they position themselves as disadvantaged? Challenging Diversity brings a new and original approach to key issues facing social, political and cultural theory. Critically engaging with feminist, radical democratic and liberal scholarship, the book addresses four major challenges confronting a radical equality politics. Namely, what does equality mean for preferences and choices that appear harmful; are equality's subjects individuals, groups or something else; what power do dominant norms have to undermine equality-oriented reforms; and can radical practices endure when they collide with the mainstream? Taking examples from religion, gender, sexuality, state policy-making and intentional communities, Challenging Diversity maps new ways of understanding equality, explores the politics of its pursuit, and asks what kinds of diversity does a radical version of equality engender.

Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power and the 
Politics of Location (Social Justice)
Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power and the Politics of Location (Social Justice) (2008) by Emily Grabham, Davina Cooper, Jane Krishnadas, Didi Herman (Eds.)

This collection addresses the present and the future of the concept of intersectionality within socio-legal studies. Intersectionality provides a metaphorical schema for understanding the interaction of different forms of disadvantage, including race, sexuality, and gender. But it also goes further to provide a particular model of how these aspects of social identity and location converge whether at the level of subjectivity, everyday life, in culture or in the institutional practices of state and other bodies. Including contributions from a range of international scholars, this book interrogates what has become a key organizing concept across a range of disciplines, most particularly law, political theory, and cultural studies.

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Recent Publications

Cooper, Davina (2011) Theorising Nudist Equality: An Encounter between Political Fantasy and Public Appearance. Antipode, 43 (2). pp. 326-357.

Cooper, Davina (2011) Reading the State as a Multi-Identity Formation: The Touch and Feel of Equality Governance?. Feminist Legal Studies.

Cooper, Davina (2010) The Pain and the Power of Sexual Interests: A discussion of Janet Halley's Split Decisions. International Journal of Law in Context, 6. pp. 94-99.

Cooper, Davina (2009) Caring for sex and the power of attentive action: Governance, drama, and conflict in building a queer feminist bathhouse. Signs, 35 (1). pp. 105-130.

Book Sections

Cooper, Davina (2008) Intersectional Travels through Everyday Utopias: The Difference Sexual and Economic Dynamics make. In: Grabham, Emily and Cooper, Davina and Herman, Didi et al. Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power, and the Politics of Location. Routledge-Cavendish, pp. 299-325.

Edited Books

Grabham, Emily and Cooper, Davina and Krishnadas, J. et al. (2009) Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power, and the Politics of Location. Routledge-Cavendish, United Kingdom, 400 pp. ISBN 9780415432436.

Cooper, Davina (2009) Intimate Public Practices: A Methodological Challenge. Feminist Theory

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Useful Links

Amazon.co.uk: books by Davina Cooper

Reanimating Equality by Dr Davina Cooper

Dr Davina Cooper, Kent Law School page

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