Staff profile

Professor Alex Nunn

Professor of Global Political Economy and Head of the Centre for Social, Cultural and Legal Research

Alex Nunn


Social Sciences


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Research centre

Better Society, Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre




One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



I am Director of the Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre. I am responsible for REF Unit 20 (Social Policy and Social Work) and have a number of University-wide roles, such as being a member of the central REF steering group and an elected member of the University Professorial Council.

My current research focus is on ‘the new politics of inequality’ in a number of different scalar-contexts, from micro-scale: e.g. the ways that inequalities are exaggerated or mitigated by the experience of frontline service delivery, through to the global scale: the way that IMF policy advice reflects a concern to control the politically destabilising effects of inequality.  Some of this work currently involves innovative inter-disciplinary methods such as the use of arts and theatre techniques to gather data, secure and measure research impact with marginalised and vulnerable social groups. 

I have held a series of management and leadership posts in higher education. I was Director of the Policy Research Institute, Head of Politics and Applied Global Ethics and Founding Director of the Centre for Applied Social Research at Leeds Beckett University.

I am a former convenor of the International Political Economy Group (IPEG) of the British International Studies Association, and am now on the IPEG Steering Committee and Book Prize Committee.

Teaching responsibilities

I will be teaching on the sociology, social policy, politics and international relations programmes.

I welcome PhD applications in the following areas:

  • Inequality in the UK, Europe or globally
  • Social mobility
  • Class and class politics
  • Gender, political economy and social reproduction
  • The political economy of crisis
  • Labour market policy and governance
  • General issues in global political economy

Research interests

I have three broad areas of research ongoing at the moment which fit within my research agenda on the 'new politics of inequality'.  The first relates to the political economy of inequality at all scales from the global through to the local and uses a materialist feminist lens to understand the ways in which inequalities are both produced and reproduced through the interaction of different institutional structures and agency. The second relates to the governance and organisation of labour markets and the provision of labour market services. The third explores the use of innovative arts and performance based research methods to investigate the experience of inequalities by young people in particular.

Membership of professional bodies

  • International Studies Association
  • Political Studies Association
  • Initiative for International Political Economy
  • I am a former convener of the International Political Economy Group (IPEG) of the British International Studies Association.
  • I am series editor of the Lynne Rienner Advances in IPE series


  • 2005: PhD, University of Manchester, The Political Economy of Crisis and Global Governance
  • 1999: MA (Econ), Political Development, University of Manchester
  • 1998: BSocSci (Hons), Politics, University of Manchester

Recent publications

Selected outputs since 2014

Accepted, forthcoming

Nunn, Alex (2019), “Delivering Activation: The Perpetual Reform of Public Employment Services in Europe”, in Douglas Besharov and Douglas Call (eds.): Labor Activation in a Time of High Unemployment: Encouraging Work while Preserving the Social Safety-Net. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press (expected date of publication: 2019). With Timo Weishaupt and Henning Jorgensen.

Nunn, Alex (2019) “Public Employment Services Organisation and Effectiveness: A Rapid Review of the Literature and Evidence to inform the development of a diagnostic tool to assess investment priorities for LAC PES. To be published by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Journal Articles

Nunn, A. and Tepe-Belfrage, D. (2019). ‘Social Reproduction Strategies: Understanding Compound Inequality in the Intergenerational Transfer of Capital, Assets and ResourcesCapital and Class.

Nunn, A. (2019). “Neo-Liberalistion, Fast Policy Transfer and the Management of Labour Market Services”, Review of International Political Economy.

Nunn, Alex and Morgan, Jamie (2018). The political economy of Public Employment Services: measurement and disempowered empowerment? Policy Studies. Retrieved from

Nunn, Alex and Charlotte Hargreaves, Phil Hodgson and Jayne Noor-Mohammed, (2018) “Contingent Coping? Renegotiating Fast Disciplinary Social Policy at Street Level: Implementing the Troubled Families Programme”, Critical Social Policy, Online first.,

Alex and White, Paul (2017),  “The IMF and a New Global Politics of Inequality”, Journal of Australian Political Economy, Special Issue on Global Inequality, 78, Summer.

Nunn, Alex and Price, Sophia, (2017), “Managing Neo-liberalisation through Sustainable Development”, Third World Thematics.

Nunn, Alex and Tepe-Belfrage, D. (2017) “Disciplinary Social Policy and the failing promise of the New Middle Classes: The Troubled Families Programme", Social Policy and Society, Special Issue on Troubled Families Programme, 16:1, pp119-129. 

Nunn, Alex (2016) “Producing and Reproducing Inequality in times of Austerity”, British Politics – Special Issue on Households and Austerity, 11:4, pp469-487.

Nunn, Alex, (2015) “Saving World Market Society from itself? The New Global Politics of Inequality and the agents of World Market Society”, Spectrum: Journal of Global Studies, 7:2.

Nunn, Alex and Beeckmans, Paul (2015), “The Political Economy of Competitiveness and Continuous Adjustment in EU Meta-Governance”, International Journal of Public Administration, 38:12.

Nunn, Alex (2014), "The contested and contingent outcomes of Thatcherism in the UK". Capital & Class38(2), 303-321.

Book Chapters

Nunn, Alex (2019) “Do Employment Services Need to Be Neo-Liberal?”, in Hooley, Tristram (ed.). Career guidance and the struggle for social justice in a neoliberal world, London: Palgrave.

Nunn, Alex (2016), “World Society and a World State in the Shadow of the World Market:  Democracy and Global Political Economy” , in Offor and Badru (eds), Transnational Democracy, Human Rights and Race Relations, Create Media., With Jamie Morgan.

Other Reports

Nunn, Alex; Dodsley, T; Cayli, B; Hargreaves, C (2018), Effectiveness of MFC Services to Reduce School Exclusion among Young People from the Roma Community in Derby, Derby: Multi-Faith Centre.

Nunn, Alex and Agota Scharle (2018), Performance, Accountability and Links with Benchlearning', European Commission Analytical Paper, Brussels: EC.

Hobson, Chris; Elaine Clark and Alex Nunn, (2017), HS2 Skills and Employability Strategic Framework – Fast Track to Inclusive growth across the East Midlands, East Midlands Councils.

Nunn, A., Hutchinson, J., Hobson, C., & Chamber, E. M. (2017). Research on making the most of HS2 investments and connectivity in the EM Labour Market, East Midlands Councils.

Nunn, Alex (2015), Trends and Developments in PES Partnership Working, Brussels: European Commission.

More details of my publications can be found at: