| Steven Klein | Political Theory | KCL |

Note: I no longer have access to my email stevenklein (at) ufl.edu. If you need to reach me, please write to steven.klein (at) kcl.ac.uk

I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Political Theory in the Department of Political Economy, King’s College London.

Klein Photo updatedMy research has focused on democratic theory, critical social theory, theories of political economy and the welfare state, the theory and politics of European integration, and the history of European social and political thought (especially of 19th- and 20th-century Germany). My first book, The Work of Politics: Making a Democratic Welfare State (CUP 2020), examines the democratic potential of struggles over welfare institutions. I am also working on a second book project that draws together the thought of Karl Polanyi with the tradition of critical social theory to develop an account of the contemporary politics of finance, debt, and money.  In Fall 2019, I was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Before coming to KCL, I was an Assistant Profesor of Political Science at the University of Florida and a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute. I completed my PhD at the University of Chicago in 2016.


The Work of Politics: Making a Democratic Welfare State (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

‘The welfare state is a site of intense democracy, where workers, women, people of color, and immigrants take radical action on their own behalf. In a fascinating reconstruction of more than a century’s thinking – from Weber to Habermas and beyond – Klein gives us not only the most discerning and robust theory of the welfare state to date, but a way to think past the welfare state, to show us what democratic agency in a 21st century political economy might be.’

Corey Robin – Brooklyn College

Read a summary of my argument in Jacobin: Building the Welfare State is About Building Democracy

Reviewed in Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, European Journal of Political Theory, Theory & Event, and Business Ethics Quarterly.

Subject to a critical dialogue in Perspectives on Politics (with Ben McKean’s Disorienting Neoliberalism: Global Justice and the Outer Limit of Freedom).

Shortlisted for the ECPR Political Theory Prize.

Academic Articles

Democracy Requires Organized Power (Journal of Political Philosophy, 2022)

European Law and the Dilemmas of Democratic Capitalism (Global Perspectives, 2020)

With responses from Claus Thomasburger, Christian Joerges, Vladimir Bogoeski, and Sabine Frerichs and Fernando Losada

The Power of Money: Critical Theory, Democracy, and Capitalism (Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, 2020)

Toward a Dynamic Theory of Civil Society: The Politics of Forward and Backward Infiltration (Sociological Theory, 2019, with Cheol-Sung Lee)

Fictitious Freedom: A Polanyian Critique of the Republican Revival (AJPS 2017)

Between Charisma and Domination: On Max Weber’s Critique of Democracy (JoP 2017)

“Fit to Enter the World”: Hannah Arendt on Politics, Economics, and the Welfare State (APSR 2014)


What Biden’s Welfare State Is—and Isn’t (Foreign Policy)

America Is Learning to Reject Socialism, but Love the Welfare State (Foreign Policy)

Coronavirus Against the Market (Tribune, with Anton Jäger)

In the Red: Democracy in an Age of Debt (The Berlin Journal)

Socialism and Freedom: Karl Polanyi’s Early Writings (LA Review of Books)

The New Science Wars (Chronicle Review)

Against Civility, or Why Habermas Recommends a Wild Public Sphere (Aeon)

A Serious Man (The Baffler, with John Ganz)