Dr James Hickson

Post-doctoral Research Associate


Dr James Hickson is a political theorist, working at the interface of politics, philosophy, and economics.

Following undergraduate studies in Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, and an MA in Legal and Political Theory at UCL, James completed his PhD in Politics at the University of York with funding from the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities.

His doctoral thesis, ‘A Political Theory of Precarious Work’, explored the political significance of zero hours contract, temporary agency, and gig economy work in the contemporary UK economy. Drawing inspiration from the republican tradition of political thought, James argues such working arrangements represent a distinct threat to individual freedom; one that could be neutralised through a combination of robust market regulation, an enhanced welfare state, and a renaissance of trade unionism.

At the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place, James will continue to explore issues of precarity and the future of work, with a particular focus on what these mean for citizenship, governance, and economic development at the local level. Through adopting a place-based approach to political theory, James intends to contribute effectively to live public policy debates in Liverpool City Region and beyond, particularly as places look to meaningfully build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to joining the Heseltine Institute, James worked as a Research Officer with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, working closely on long-term economic strategy and the devolution agenda. He has also previously completed visiting positions at Harvard University, Humboldt University of Berlin, and the RSA.  

James has presented his research at numerous national and international conferences, as well as the Houses of Parliament, and has written for a public audience with Renewal, the RSA, as well as the Heseltine Institute.

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