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



Foley, M. 2013. Political Leadership: Themes, Contexts and Critiques. Oxford University Press, Oxford Other


Foley, M. 2010. Laws, Men and Machines: Modern American Government and the Appeal of Newtonian Mechanics. Routledge Revivals Taylor & Francis


Foley, M. 2009. Bringing realism to American liberalism: Kenneth Waltz and the process of a cold war adjustment. International Relations 23 (3) pp. 313-327. 10.1177/0047117809340478

Foley, M. 2009. Gordon Brown and the role of compounded crisis in the pathology of leadership decline. British Politics 4 pp. 498-513. 10.1057/bp.2009.19

Foley, M. 2009. Introduction to 'The King of Thought: Theory, the Subject, and Waltz' Part II: Realism and World Politics. International Relations 23 (3) pp. 311-312. 10.1177/0047117809340480


Foley, M. 2008. The Four Predicaments of American Liberalism: Challenges and Opportunities in a Presidential Election Year. Political Quarterly 79 (4) pp. 518-528. 10.1111/j.1467-923x.2008.01954.x

Foley, M. 2008. The presidential dynamics of leadership decline in contemporary British politics: the illustrative case of Tony Blair. Contemporary Politics 14 (1) pp. 53-69. 10.1080/13569770801913264


Foley, M. 2007. American Credo: The Place of Ideas in US Politics. Oxford University Press Cadair

Foley, M. 2007. President Bush, the War on Terror, and the Populist Tradition. International Politics 44 pp. 666-691. 10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800211 Cadair


Foley, M. 2004. Presidential Attribution as an Agency of Prime Ministerial Critique in a Parliamentary Democracy: The Case of Tony Blair. British Journal of Politics and International Relations 6 (3) pp. 292-311. 10.1111/j.1467-856X.2004.00141.x Cadair Other


Foley, M. 2003. John Major, Tony Blair and a Conflict of Leadership: Collision Course. Manchester University Press Cadair


Foley, M. 2001. The British presidency. 2ndth edn, Manchester University Press, Manchester


Foley, M. 1999. The Politics of the British Constitution. Political Analyses Manchester University Press, Manchester


Foley, M. 1998. Split-Party Control: Clinton on the Defensive? In D. McSweeney, J. Owens (eds), The Republican Takeover of Congress. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmills pp. 117-139.

Foley, M. 1998. The Democratic Imperative. In A. McGrew (ed), Empire. The United States in the Twentieth Century Hodder Education, London pp. 165-200.


Foley, M., Owens, J.E. 1996. Congress and the Presidency: Institutional Politics in a Separated System. Political Analyses Manchester University Press, Manchester


Wildavsky, A., Foley, M. 1994. Egalitarianism. In M. Foley (ed), Ideas that shape politics. Manchester University Press, Manchester pp. 69-77.

Foley, M. (ed) 1994. Ideas That Shape Politics. Ideology Manchester University Press, Manchester

Foley, M. 1994. Progress. In M. Foley (ed), Ideas that shape politics. Ideology Manchester University Press, Manchester pp. 208-.

Foley, M. 1994. The President and Congress. In D. Hill, P. Williams (eds), The Bush Presidency: Triumphs and Adversities. Southampton Studies in International Policy Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmills pp. 22-42.


Foley, M. 1993. The Rise of the British Presidency. Manchester University Press, Manchester


Foley, M. 1991. American Political Ideas: Traditions and Usages. Manchester University Press, Manchester


Foley, M. 1990. Congress and Foreign Policy: Can it Cope with Foreign Affairs? In R. Williams (ed), Explaining American Politics. Taylor & Francis, London pp. 65-96.

Foley, M. 1990. From Mighty Oaks to Little Acorns: the Problems of the Presidential Timber Business. Journal of American Studies 24 (01) pp. 85-92. 10.1017/S0021875800028723 Other

Foley, M. 1990. Presidential Leadership and the Presidency. In J. Hogan (ed), The Reagan Years: The Records in Presidential Leadership. Manchester University Press, Manchester pp. 21-51.


Foley, M. 1989. Mumbling across the Branches: The Iran-contra Scandal, the Boland Amendments, and the American Foreign Policy Making Process. International Politics Research Papers, no. 6 Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth pp. 6-14.

Foley, M. 1989. The Curious Success of Reagan's Failures. Interstate Journal of International Affairs Spring pp. 6-11.

Foley, M. 1989. The Silence of Constitutions: Gaps, ‘Abeyances’ and Political Temperament in the Maintenance of Government. Routledge Revivals Taylor & Francis, Abingdon


Foley, M. 1987. Ronald Reagan and the State of the American Presidency. Modern Studies Journal December pp. 23-53.


Foley, M. 1980. The New Senate: Liberal Influence on a Conservative Institution, 1959-1972. Yale University Press, New Haven