Michael Foley

Photograph of Michael Foley.

Professor of International Politics

BA University of Keele
MA University of Essex
PhD University of Essex


Email: mof@aber.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1970 622696
Fax: +44 (0)1970 622709
Office: 3.01


Michael Foley joined the Department in 1975.  His PhD thesis on the transformation of the US Senate was published by Yale University Press and shortlisted for the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Award for 1981.  Since then, he has been involved in a range of professional organizations, broadcasting operations and publishing ventures. He is an assessor for several publishers and journals as well as being a reviewer for such outlets as THE, International Affairs, Millennium, and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.  He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of American Studies (CUP) and is currently Associate Editor of International Relations (Sage).  Most recently, he won the British Politics Best Article prize for 2009.


Past research includes work on presidential politics, constitutional theory, foreign policy, and the history of ideas. American Credo: The Place of Ideas in US Politics (OUP 2007) studied the dynamics between the presence of several core ideas and the social attitudes that have developed to take account of them in the realm of practical politics and political argument.  Current research includes a broad study of political leadership in its various contexts.  The aim is to analyse its forms, functions and claims to legitimacy - together with the way that the phenomenon is conceptually and operationally approached as a subject of political value but also one of volatility and even anxiety.  Another study examines the meaning and dynamics of leadership at the international level. In addition, research is being conducted into the sources and implications of contemporary strands of populist politics within established democracies; into the condition of US liberalism within a context of an expanding positive and regulatory state set in a previously ascendant conservative matrix; and into the formation and political significance of self-styled elite organizations from business, political and celebrity sectors

Teaching Areas

IP12220 Revolution and Continuity in Political Philosophy
IP30820 Political leadership
IP34420 Ideas and Practice in American Politics

PhD Supervision
US / UK politics and government
International issues
Leadership studies
Political ideas and argument
Foreign policy

Staff Publications

Key Publications

A Government of Laws Men and Machines: Modern American Politics and the Appeal of Newtonian Mechanics (London: Routledge, 1990), 285pp.

The British Presidency: Tony Blair and the Politics of Public Leadership (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), 374pp.

‘President Bush, the War on Terror and the Populist Tradition’, International Politics (Palgrave Macmillan), vol.44, no.6 (2007), pp.666-91.

American Credo: The Place of Ideas in US Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007), 492pp.

‘Bringing realism to American liberalism: Kenneth Waltz and the process of a cold war adjustment’ International Relations (Sage), vol. 23, no.3 (2009), pp.313-27.

Works in Progress

Monograph - Political Leadership: Themes, Contexts and Critiques

Monograph - International Leadership

Research on US liberalism in an era of financial crisis

Research on populist devices and techniques in established democracies

Full list of publications