Professor Rodney Barker

Professor Rodney Barker

Emeritus Professor of Government

Department of Government

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Key Expertise
Enemies, Enmity, Identity, Ideology, Propaganda, Rhetoric

About me

Rodney Barker is Emeritus Professor of Government in the LSE Department of Government and Emeritus Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College. Rodney joined the LSE Department of Government in 1971 having gained an MA from Downing College, Cambridge and a PhD from LSE.

Professor Barker has conducted research in many areas, including British politics, civil disobedience, legitimation, modern political ideologies, political identity, enmity, enemies, and political propaganda and rhetoric. He has been widely published, both in academic literature and in the print media, and has written several books, most recently 'Cultivating political and public identity: Why plumage matters'.

Research interests

  • Enemies
  • Enmity
  • Identity
  • Ideology
  • Legitimacy
  • Legitimation
  • Propaganda
  • Rhetoric


Cultivating political and public identity: Why plumage matters
(Manchester University Press, 2017)

Throughout the twentieth century, everyone from Marxists to economic individualists assumed that social and political activity was driven by the rational pursuit of material gain. Today, the fundamental importance of the cultivation and preservation of identity is finally re-emerging. This book explores the rich fabric of speech, dress, diet and the built environment from which human identity is made.

Making Enemies
(Palgrave, 2007)

Whom a prime minister or president will not shake hands with is still more noticed than with whom they will. Public identity can afford to be ambiguous about friends, but not about enemies. Professor Barker examines the accounts of how enmity functions in the cultivation of identity, how essential or avoidable it is, and what the global consequences are.

My research