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Clare Chambers

Clare Chambers photoClare Chambers is University Senior Lecturer and a Fellow of Jesus College. Her field is contemporary political philosophy. Before coming to Cambridge in 2006 she has taught at the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics. She has a D.Phil in Political Philosophy from the University of Oxford (Nuffield College).

Current Research

Dr Chambers's field is contemporary political philosophy, mainly (but not exclusively) Anglo-American analytical theory. There are three main strands to her work: feminism, liberalism, and social construction.

She is the author of two books: Sex, Culture, and Justice: The Limits of Choice (Penn State University Press, 2008) and, with Phil Parvin, Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (Hodder, 2012). She is currently completing a book titled Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Dr Chambers has also written numerous articles and chapters on political philosophy. Her writing and interests include the following topics:

  • Liberalism: autonomy, choice, consent, distributive equality, equality of opportunity, multiculturalism, religion, global justice, liberal feminism, political v comprehensive v perfectionist liberalism, public reason, the work of John Rawls.
  • Feminism: the body, beauty and appearance norms, cosmetic surgery, personal relationships, marriage, parenthood, liberal feminism, radical feminism, the work of Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon.
  • Social construction: social norms, the limitations of choice, genealogy, social practices, gender, culture, religion, the work of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu.


Personal website, with online papers:


  • Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • (with Phil Parvin) Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (Hodder, 2012)
  • Sex, Culture and Justice: The Limits of Choice  (Penn State University Press, 2008; paperback, 2009).
    Reviewed in    Times Higher Education Supplement (20th March 2008)
                         Philosophy (Vol. 84 No. 1, 2009)
                         Feminist Review (91, 2009)
                         Res Publica (2009)
                         Perspectives on Politics (Vol. 8 No. 1, 2010)
                         Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

Journal Articles

  • “The Marriage-Free State” in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Vol. CXIII No. 2 (2013)
  • (with Phil Parvin) “Coercive redistribution and public agreement: re-evaluating the libertarian challenge of charity” in Matt Matravers and Lukas Meyer (eds.), Democracy, Equality, and Justice (Routledge and special issue of Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP) Vol. 13 No. 1 (2010)).
  • “Each outcome is another opportunity: Problems with the Moment of Equal Opportunity” in Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE) Vol. 8 No. 4 (2009). One of the 50 most-downloaded articles from the journal in 2014-15 and chosen for the first Sage Video Collection in the subject area.
  • “Inclusivity and the constitution of the family” in Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence (2009, 1). Response from Alan Brudner in (2009, 2).
  • “Torture as an evil: Response to Claudia Card” in Criminal Law & Philosophy Vol. 2 No. 1 (January 2008).
  • “Masculine domination, radical feminism and change” in Feminist Theory Vol. 6 No. 3 (December 2005).
  • “Autonomy and equality in cultural perspective: Response to Sawitri Saharso” in Feminist Theory Vol. 5 No. 3 (December 2004).
  • “Are breast implants better than female genital mutilation? Autonomy, gender equality and Nussbaum’s political liberalism” in Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy (CRISPP) Vol. 7 No. 3 (Autumn 2004). Chosen as part of the Taylor and Francis Women in Philosophy collection at
  • “Nation-building, Neutrality and Ethnocultural Justice: Kymlicka’s ‘Liberal Pluralism’” in Ethnicities Vol. 3 No. 3 (September 2003).

Book Chapters

  • “Conscience and Context” in Political Emotions: Toward a Decent Public Sphere, edited by Thom Brooks (forthcoming).
  • “Judith Butler” in The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory, edited by Jacob T. Levy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
  • “Feminism and Liberalism” in Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy, edited by Serene Khader, Ann Gary, and Alison Stone (Routledge, forthcoming).
  • “The Limitations Of Contract: Regulating Personal Relationships In A Marriage-Free State” in Elizabeth Brake (ed.) After Marriage? (Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • “Feminism” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, edited by Michael Freeden, Lyman Tower Sargent, and Marc Stears (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • “ “The Family as a Basic Institution:” A Feminist Analysis of the Basic Structure as Subject” in Ruth Abbey (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Rawls (Penn State University Press, 2013).
  • (with Phil Parvin) “What Kind Of Dialogue Do We Need? Gender, Deliberative Democracy And Comprehensive Values” in Jude Browne (ed.) Dialogue, Politics and Gender (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  • “Gender” in Catriona McKinnon (ed.) Issues in Political Theory (Oxford University Press, 2008; 2nd ed. 2011; 3rd ed. forthcoming).
  • “All Must Have Prizes: The Liberal Case For Intervention In Cultural Practices” in Paul Kelly (ed.) Multiculturalism Reconsidered: Culture and Equality and its Critics (Polity Press, 2002).

Book Reviews

  • Review of Anne Phillips, Our Bodies, Whose Property? (Princeton University Press, 2012) in Political Theory Vol. 43 No. 1 (February 2015).
  • Review of G. A. Cohen, Lectures in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy in Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258) (January 2015).
  • Review of Nancy Hirschmann, Gender, Class, and Freedom in Modern Political Theory (Princeton University Press, 2008) in Journal of Moral Philosophy Vol. 7 No. 1 (2010).
  • “Assessing Equality”:  review of Chris Armstrong, Rethinking Equality: The Challenge of Equal Citizenship (Manchester University Press, 2006) and Stuart White, Equality (Polity Press, 2007) in Res Publica (2008).
  • Review of Anne Phillips, Multiculturalism without Culture (Princeton University Press, 2007) in British Journal of Sociology (2008).
  • Review of Catharine MacKinnon, Are Women Human? And other international dialogues (Harvard University Press, 2006) in Ethics and International Affairs Vol. 21 No. 2 (Summer 2007).
  • Review of Seyla Benhabib, The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era  (Princeton University Press, 2002) in Political Studies Review Vol. 2 No. 1 (January 2004).
  • Review of Nancy J. Hirschmann, The Subject of Liberty: Toward a Feminist Theory of Freedom (Princeton University Press, 2003) in Political Studies Review Vol. 1 No. 3 (September 2003).
  • Review of Will Kymlicka and Magda Opalski, Can Liberal Pluralism be Exported? Western political theory and ethnic relations in Eastern Europe (Oxford University Press, 2001) in Political Studies Vol. 50 No. 5 (December 2002).

Current Teaching

Dr Chambers lectures and supervises in the following areas:

  • Part 1A, Paper 2 Ethics and Political Philosophy
  • Part 1A, Paper 4 Set Texts
  • Part 1B, Paper 7 Political Philosophy
  • Part 2, Paper 10 Political Philosophy

See the lecture list for further details.

Graduate Teaching

  • Seminar in Political Thought (with Dr Duncan Bell, POLIS)
  • Political Philosophy Workshop

Contact Details

Postal address: Jesus College, Cambridge CB5 8BL
Personal website:
Email address: