Ruth Kinna

Social Sciences and Humanities

Research groups - Anarchism Research Group, Politicised Practice Research Group, LUNN

Ruth is interested in the concept of domination, particularly is it has been developed in anarchist histories of ideas as a critique republican and liberal constitutionalism. The anarchist argument is that the shift from absolutism to universal rights concealed the extent to which domination was structured into law (described as the ‘transformation of slavery’).

The critique dovetails with contemporary work on intersectionalism since it recognises that the protection and enforcement of legal rights affects different disadvantaged communities in different ways: the effects of what Fanon calls the ‘fact of blackness’ are negated by a formal commitment to moral equality; class domination resulting from unequal access to resources is legitimised by the state’s guarantee of private property; patriarchy is normalised through the deregulation of private life, prejudicial property rights that entrench power inequalities.

The critique can be extended to analyse current gender inequalities. The critique also dovetails with research on modern slavery, since it recognises that ownership/chattel slavery is only one model of enslavement and that coercive relationships, resulting from structured, arbitrary inequalities, are always potentially enslaving. One of the upshots of the critique is constitutional law disempowers the disadvantaged: the idea of consent central to liberal constitutionalism delegitimises challenges to law and challenges are constrained by norms and practices that are patterned by structural domination.  


  • Kinna, R, The Government of No One (Pelican, 2019)
  • Kinna, R. and Prichard, A., 2019. Anarchism and non-domination. Journal of Political Ideologies, 24 (3), pp.221-240.
  • Kinna, R., 2019. Using the master's tools: rights and radical politics. IN: Dhawan, N., Cooper, D. and Newman, J. (eds.) Reimagining the State: Theoretical Challenges and Transformative Possibilities, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge
  • Kinna, R., 2017. Anarchism and feminism. IN: Jun, N., (ed.) Brill's Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy. Leiden: Brill, pp.253-284