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Sociology Research


Dr Filipe Carreira da Silva is a Fellow of Selwyn College (since 2014) & Research Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (since 2024).

He was born in 1975 and educated in Sociology (PhD) at St. Edmund's College Cambridge. He has held visiting positions at Harvard, Chicago, Yale, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2010, his book Mead and Modernity was awarded the American Sociological Association Distinguished Book Award (History of Sociology). His latest work includes Colonial Senses. Colonial Sensorial Regimes and the Anti-Colonial Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2025), Democratic Resentment. A Global History of Populism from the American Populists to the Present Day (Oxford University Press, 2025).

Research Interests

Filipe Carreira da Silva’s research began in the late 1990s with a series of conceptual reconstructions, namely: of a concept (Habermas’ concept of public sphere), of a political tradition (civic republicanism in late nineteenth-century America), and finally that of an individual author, G.H. Mead. His research on Mead, in particular, has led him to further explore the implications of the tension between theory building and intellectual history in sociology. This historical work on American philosophical pragmatism has provided him with the background for his current research on the materiality of ideas, namely his proposal for a pragmatic genealogy of key sociological classics.




SOC6: Advanced Social Theory - "Rethinking Populism" module.

SOC2: Social Theory

Graduate supervision availability and interests:

Filipe is available to supervise PhD and MPhil students interested in working on contemporary social theory, history of sociology, and pragmatism.

Current Doctoral students:

Signe Kossmann



2024. Silva, F.C. & Vieira, M.B. Amilcar Cabral, Colonial Soil and the Politics of Insubmission. Theory, Culture & Society: 1-30.
2024. Silva, F.C. & Vieira, M.B. Race and Populism. A Comparative Study of Thatcherism, Peronism and the American Populists. European Journal of Sociology: 1-30.
2023. Silva, F.C. & Rogenhofer, J. Politics with Objects? On the Affective Materiality of Contentious Politics. Acta Sociologica: 1-30.
2023. Davidson, J.P.L. & Silva, F.C. Decolonising the Earth: Anticolonial environmentalism and the soil of empire. Theory, Culture & Society: 1-30.
2023. Silva, F.C & Rogenhofer, J. Can a Colonial Flag become a Banner for Democracy? The Case of the Dragon and Lion Flag in the 2019 Hong Kong Protests. Current Sociology: 1-30.
2023. Silva, F.C. & Rogenhofer, J. Populist Things. A Study on the Materiality of Political Ideas. Sociology Compass 17(3): 1-13.
2022. Silva, F.C., Manucci, L. & Larraz, D. Populism and Nationalism Revisited. A Comparative Study of the Spanish and Portuguese New Left. Nations and Nationalism: 1-30.
2021. Davidson, J.P.L. & Silva, F.C. Fear of a Black planet: Climate apocalypse, Anthropocene futures, and Black social thought. European Journal Social Theory 25(4).

Key Publications - Books

Silva, F.C. 2025. Democratic Resentment. A Global History of Populism from the American Populists to the Present Day. Oxford: Oxford University Press. With Mónica Brito Vieira.

Silva, F.C. 2018. The Politics of the Book. Penn State University Press. With Mónica Brito Vieira.

Silva, F. C., 2015. Sociology in Portugal. A Short History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Silva, F. C., 2011. G.H. Mead. A Reader. London: Routledge (Classics in Sociology Series). (edited) Now in Paperback - December 2012.

Silva, F. C., 2010. Social Theory in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. Cambridge: Polity Press. With Patrick Baert. (Translations into Italian: 2010. Teoria Sociale Contemporanea. Bologna: Societá Editrice Il Mulino; Spanish: 2011. La Teoría Social Contemporánea. Madrid: Alianza Editorial; Portuguese: 2012. Teoria Social Hoje. Lisboa: Mundos Sociais: Polish: 2013. Krakow: Zaklad Wadawniczy Nomos) .

Silva, F. C., 2008. Mead and Modernity. Science, Selfhood, and Democratic Politics. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 

Silva, F.C., 2007. G.H. Mead. A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press. 

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Silva, F.C. & Vieira, M.B. 2020. Populism: The Concept and the Polemic. In Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory. Gerard Delanty and Stephen P. Turner (eds.). London: Taylor and Francis.

Silva, F. C. & Viera, M. B. 2019. Habermas in Portugal. In: Habermas Global. The Reception of his Work/Habermas global - Wirkungsgeschichte eines Werks. Luca Corchia, Stefan Müller-Doohm, William Outhwaite (eds.) Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag.

Silva, F. C. 2019. Tocqueville, Alexis de (1805-1859). In: Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd edition. George Ritzer (ed.). New York: Wiley.

Silva, F. C. 2016. G.H. Mead. In Key Sociological Thinkers, 3rd ed. Rob Stones (ed). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Silva, F. C. & Baert, P. 2014. Evolution, Agency and Objects: Re-discovering Classical Pragmatism. In Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Theory. A. Gardner, M. Lake, & U. Sommer (eds). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Silva, F.C. & Cabral, M.V. 2020. The Politics of the Essay. Lusotropicalism as Ideology and Theory. American Sociologist 51, 381–397

Silva, F.C. & Vieira, M.B. 2020. Rethinking the Time's Arrow. Beginnings and the Sociology of the Future. Time & Society: 1-24.

Silva, F. C. & Vieira, M. B. 2020. Books that Matter: The case of Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Sociological Quarterly: 1-24.

Raza-Mejia, S. & Silva, F. C. 2019. The Time of the Human: Temporality and Philosophical Sociology. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory 21(1): 103-111.

Silva, F.C. & Vieira, M.B. 2018. Populism as a Logic of Political Action. European Journal of Social Theory 22(4): 497-512.

Silva, F.C. 2017. Waiting for Godot? Welfare Attitudes in Portugal Before and After the Financial Crisis. Political Studies 65(3): 535-558. With Mónica Brito Vieira and Cicero Pereira.

Silva, F.C. 2016. On the pragmatics of social theory. The case of Elias's 'The Process of Civilization'. Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences 52(4): 392-407. With Marta Bucholc.

Silva, F.C. 2016. Direitos Sociais na Constituição. Uma Análise da Constitucionalização dos Direitos Sociais em Portugal, 1975-76. Relações Internacionais 49: 69-94. With Mónica Brito Vieira.

Silva, F. C., 2015. Sophie’s Choice: Social Attitudes to Welfare State Retrenchment in Bailed-Out Portugal. European Societies 17(3): 351-371. With Laura Valadez. 

Silva, F. C., 2013. "Outline of a Social Theory of Rights. A Neo-Pragmatist Approach". European Journal of Social Theory. 16(4): 457-475. 

Silva, F. C., 2013. “Getting Rights Right. Explaining Social Rights Constitutionalization in Revolutionary Portugal." International Journal of Constitutional Law. 11(4): 898-922. With Mónica Brito Vieira. 

Silva, F. C., 2011. “Books and Canon Formation in Sociology. The Case of Mind, Self, and Society.” Journal of Classical Sociology 11 (4): 356-377. With Mónica Brito Vieira.

Grants and Projects

2022-2025: Co-PI, “Race Trouble. Decolonizing race andracial inequality in postcolonial Portugal” (2022.04225.PTDC) exploratory research project, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology,Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education. PI: Sofia Aboim. Funding awarded: €49.981,65.

Carreira Da Silva, F. (PI) Rethinking Populism. Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education - Foundation for Science and Technology (2018-2020): €208,000

“What do we do when we do nothing? A history of laziness”. Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme 2015/16. 

“A History of Sociology in Six Books”. British Academy-Leverhulme Small Research Grant and Newton Trust Small Research Grant.

“Broken Promises. The Political Origins of Socioeconomic Inequality in Portugal, 1960-2010”. Foundation for Science and Technology, Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education.

“Social Rights in Portugal: Their Constitutionalization and Socio-economic Implications” (PTDC/CPO/71295/2006), funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education.

“Cities and Citizenship in Portugal” (PDCT/CPO/60414/2004), funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, Portuguese Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education.

Additional Information

Pedro Pereira Neto, “Ambientalismo e Comunicação Política” (2012)
António Baptista, “Isocracy – A Theory of Democracy” (2013)
Pedro Miguel Martins Mendonça, “Democracy, Populism, and Economic Globalization — An extension of the selectorate theory” (2018)
Julius Maximilian Rogenhofer, “Decisiveness and Fear of Disorder. Rethinking Germany’s response to irregular migration” (2021)
Daniel Davison-Vecchione, “On the Genealogy of Action: Conceptions of the Self in Max Weber and Georg Simmel” (2022)
Successfully completed PhDs:

Joe P.L. Davidson, “Jumpstart: Utopia in the Aftermath of Progress” (2022)
Maria João Taborda. “Valores e Cinema” (2022)
Abdullah Awad, “Adorno, Aesthetics, and Critical Theory Beyond Europe.” (2022)
Sebastian Raza-Mejia, “Agents in Crisis: Theoretical Studies on Agency, Meaning and Time” (2023)
Iris Pissaride, "Cyprus in the British Empire’s Time and Space: Documents, Objects, and Colonial Practices of Knowledge Production." (2023)

Job Title:
Fellow of Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, Research Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon