Thomas Swann

Thomas Swann


  • Lecturer in Political Theory
  • he/him

Thomas is a Lecturer in Political Theory, researching the connections between anarchist and cybernetic theories of organisation and their application to alternative forms of organising. His book, Anarchist Cybernetics. Control and Communication in Radical Politics, was published by Bristol University Press in 2020. He has an MA in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, an MA in Social and Political Philosophy from Radboud University Nijmegen. His PhD on anarchism, cybernetics and social movement organisation was awarded in 2015. Thomas was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in 2017 for research on inclusion in anarchist and radical democratic practices.

Thomas is a co-ordinator of the Anarchism Research Group at Loughborough University and a co-convenor of the Anarchist Studies Network, a specialist group of the Political Studies Association.

Thomas’ research explores how the convergence of anarchist political theory and cybernetics can help us think about radically democratic forms of organisation. He has published on the historical and theoretical relationships between anarchism and cybernetics and communication practices in radical left organising and is currently researching mutual aid self-organisation.

Thomas’ research has seen him work collaboratively with a range of activist, civil society and alternative organisations on projects aimed at benefiting the activities of these organisations in areas such as democracy, inclusion and effectiveness. In 2016 and 2017, Thomas worked on the anarchist constitutionalising project with Ruth Kinna and Alex Prichard, the outputs of which, including the Anarchic Agreements pamphlets co-written with Seeds for Change, can be found here.

Thomas is currently supervising a PhD student working on anarchism and the protest movements in Hong Kong. He is interested in supervising PhD research related to anarchist political theory, cybernetics, organisational theory, critical management studies and social movements.

Thomas is convenor of the following module:

  • PIB902 Contemporary Debates in Philosophy

He also teaches on the following module:

  • PIA901 Introduction to Philosophy

 For a full list of Thomas’ publications, including non-academic publications, please see his ResearchGate page.

  • 2020: Anarchist Cybernetics. Control and Communication in Radical Politics. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 
  •  2020 (with Martin Parker and Konstantin Stoborod, eds.): Anarchism, Organization and Management. Critical Perspectives for Students. Routledge.
  • 2019: ‘Pink organising. Notes on communication, self-organisation, noise and radical social movements’, Organization, 26(5). doi:10.1177/1350508419855711
  • 2019: ‘Co-operative research and research co-operatives’, in M Noble and C Ross (eds.) Reclaiming the University for the Public Good. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-21625-2_10
  • 2018: 'Towards an anarchist cybernetics: Stafford Beer, self-organisation and radical social movements', ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 18(4).
  • 2017 (with Emil Husted): 'Undermining Anarchy: Facebook's Influence on Anarchist Principles of Organization in Occupy Wall Street', The Information Society, 33 (4), 192-204. doi:10.1080/01972243.2017.1318195
  • 2014 (with Konstantin Stoborod): ‘Editorial: Did you hear the one about the anarchist manager?’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 14(4), 591-609.
  • 2014 (with Konstantin Stoborod, eds.): Management, Business, Anarchism. Special issue of ephemera: theory & politics in organization.