Davina Cooper

Davina Cooper


  • Research Professor in Law, Laws
  • Phone88552
  • WC2R 2LS

    United Kingdom

  • 971

Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Cooper's interdisciplinary research approaches questions of conceptual thinking, and transformative politics – their possibilities, limits, and conflicts – as these take shape in relation to law, the state, experiments in living, gender and sexuality, and cultural diversity.

Her work brings new conceptual thinking to understand contemporary innovative spaces and politics, and in turn works from these sites to explore new ways of thinking about core socio-legal and political concepts, including the state, gender, power, care, and equality.

Her most recent book explores new ways of thinking about the state, focusing on the state’s capacity to support progressive transformative politics. This book explores what it could mean to be a state, focusing on questions of state makeup and the place of dissident beliefs, forces and feelings within it, state plurality, play and the place of the erotic in thinking about governing. To explore these new conceptual paths for thinking about the state, the book takes as its empirical ground a legal drama of withdrawal - specifically, the transnational struggle currently taking shape over conservative Christian refusal to support gay-positive initiatives.

Davina is also currently directing a three year funded ESRC project to critically explore possibilities for reforming legal gender status. In light of wider changes to law, society and lived gender in countries such as Britain, the project asks whether sex/ gender should continue to form part of legal personality and what would be the implications if it no longer did. Adopting a critical and prefigurative approach, this project takes up the question of radical law reform to consider gender's present and future, and to explore what different constituencies would like gender to become.

Her authored books are Feeling like a State: Desire, Denial and the Recasting of Authority (Duke, 2019); Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (Duke UP, 2014); Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (Cambridge UP, 2004); Governing out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (Rivers Oram, 1998); Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality (Open UP, NYU, 1995); and Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994).

Biographical details

Professor Cooper joined The Dickson Poon School of Law in January 2018 as Research Professor in Law.

From 2004-17, Davina was Professor of Law and Political Theory at the University of Kent. Between 2004 and 2009, she directed the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality. And before that she was Faculty Research Dean for the Social Science Faculty at Keele University. She has been a specialist advisor to the British Parliamentary Select Committee on Education focusing on their HE enquiry; and has sat on various academic grants boards and panels, including at the ESRC. She has been a trustee of the Law & Society Association (US), and member of a range of journal editorial boards and international advisory committees.

She founded and co-edits the academic book series, Social Justice, with Sarah Lamble and Sarah Keenan, published by Routledge.

She has been a London magistrate, and between 1986 and 1990 was a locally elected councillor, and chair of several committees on Haringey Council, London.

Her blog 'Social Politics and stuff' is available here: https://davinascooper.wordpress.com/

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


Dive into the research topics where Davina Cooper is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or