skip to primary navigationskip to content

Peter William Walsh

I am currently completing my PhD, Borderline Democracy: Reason, Power, and Executive Empire in the Struggle over Migration Policy. The thesis advances an explanation of the development of the UK’s Immigration Act 2014, and is based on the analysis of documentary, policy, and media sources, as well as interviews I conducted with key immigration policy stakeholders, including government ministers and lobbyists. Its findings suggest that the former Coalition Government sought to show that they develop immigration policy in a democratic way and for rational policy- and evidence-based reasons. However, the Act was also made for political reasons, and shaped by a Westminster elite, who appeared to ignore evidence and sound arguments contrary to their position, whilst using ‘democracy’ and ‘evidence-based policy’ as rhetorical devices to enhance the legitimacy of their decisions.

I have recently become interested in the phenomenon of celebrity within academia, and am currently co-authoring an article on the subject with David Lehmann.

I am also finishing my first book, From Financial Crisis to Social Change, to be published in 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan. The book is co-edited with Torsten Geelan and Marcos Gonzalez Hernando, with a preface by Göran Therborn, and chapters by nine contributors. It is based on a selection of papers presented at the Department of Sociology’s 2014 Graduate Conference, Crisis and Social Change: Towards Alternative Horizons. A work of utopian sociology, the book proposes bold responses to the North Atlantic financial crisis of 2007-8.

Research/teaching interests

Contemporary social and political theory; evolutionary psychology; immigration; social policy; the 2007-8 global financial crisis; utopian sociology; academic celebrity; plagiarism.


PhD in Sociology, University of Cambridge, 2012-16
MPhil Modern Society and Global Transformations, University of Cambridge, 2011-12
BA Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2007-10

  • E-mail:
  • Address: Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ
  • Supervisor: Dr Jeff Miley
  • College: Fitzwilliam
  • Thesis Title: Borderline Democracy: Reason, Power, and Executive Empire in the Struggle over Migration Policy