Simon Reid-Henry

Research Professor

Simon Reid-Henry
Twitter: @sreidhenry


Simon is a Senior Researcher at PRIO affiliated to the Dimensions of Security research programme. A geographer by training his research applies an interdisciplinary focus to the making and application of political, economic, technical and legal forms of knowledge in the world and their consequences for political thought and practice. This has been a consistent interest of his since his earliest work on the history and politics of alternative models of scientific innovation through to more recent examinations of the domains of humanitarianism, global health, development, migration, security, inequality and democracy.  Simon's work has been recognized for its methodological innovation, conceptual rigour, and empirical breadth via a number of academic fellowships and awards.

At PRIO he has most recently been engaged in two Norwegian Research Council funded projects: Armed Violence in Urban Areas (joint with NUPI) and Protection of Civilians, both funded by the Norwegian Research Council. Elsewhere he has been engaged in projects examining alternative (non-Rawlsian) framings of "global justice", as these have emerged in response to particular events and developments in world history, and not simply in relation to normative political philosophical reasoning, and in a re-reading of the work of influential "global" thinkers on justice and equality in the 20th century, particularly those like Gunnar Myrdal who specifically sought to tackle head on the emergence of global challenges to national political institutions.

Simon is currently completing a major historical work addressing the tension between freedom and equality in the liberal democratic west. Through a narrative reckoning with contemporary western liberal democracy, beginning in the crises of the 1970s and ending in the upheavals of the present moment, this major (700 pp) offers a coherent account of the major social, political-economic, and intellectual trends that have shaped the "post-Consensus era". The book follows on from his previous work on global inequality, The Political Origins of Inequality (Chicago UniversityPress, 2015) by focusing in detail on the political and intellectual context in which freedom came to be prioritized over equality in the contemporary liberal democratic world. Titled after de Tocqueville's prescient description, Empire of Democracy: Capitalism, Democracy, and the reinvention of the West (Simon & Schuster (US)/Doubleday (Canada)/Hodder (UK)) is due out in late 2018 and will be a major contribution to debates on democracy and contemporary political life.


PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.

Recent Publications

Reid-Henry, Simon; Sinead Dwyer; Christoph Benn & Ida Rødningen (2023) Country Contributions to Global Public Goods for Health, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

All Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Reid-Henry, Simon (2016) Just Global Health?, Development and Change 47(4): 712–733.
Reid-Henry, Simon (2015) Genealogies of Liberal Violence: Human Rights, State Violence and the Police, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33(4): 626–641.
Reid-Henry, Simon & Ole Jacob Sending (2014) The “humanitarianization” of urban violence, Environment & Urbanization 26(2): 427–442.
Reid-Henry, Simon (2013) Review Essay: On the Politics of Our Humanitarian Present, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31(4): 753–760.


Reid-Henry, Simon (2019) Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West Since the Cold War, 1971–2017. London: Simon & Schuster.
Reid-Henry, Simon (2015) The Political Origins of Inequality: Why A More Equal World Is Better For Us All. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

PRIO Policy Brief

Lidén, Kristoffer & Simon Reid-Henry (2016) What’s in It for Them? Why the Veto Powers All Support Protection of Civilians (And Why They Often Fail to Agree on It), PRIO Policy Brief, 10. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Reid-Henry, Simon; Sinead Dwyer; Christoph Benn & Ida Rødningen (2023) Country Contributions to Global Public Goods for Health, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

Reid-Henry, Simon; Valsamis Mitsilegas; Sophie Harman; Mario Slugan; David McCoy; Sydney Calkin; Aoife Monks; Gülnur Muradoglu; & Stella Ladi (2022) How to Trust in a Pandemic: Report of the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) Working Group on COVID-19, IHSS Working Group on Covid-19, Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. Queen Mary University of London.

Blog Posts

Why the Veto Powers All Support Protection of Civilians (And Why They Often Fail to Agree on It)

Posted by Simon Reid-Henry & Kristoffer Lidén on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Protection of Civilians (PoC) expands the responsibility of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for international peace and security to the internal affairs of conflict-ridden countries. As such, it bolsters the authority of the five permanent members (the P5) in world politics and presents them with a flexible tool for ... Read more »

Reforming the Security Council: the Question that won’t go Away

Posted by Simon Reid-Henry on Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Last week Saudi Arabia took the unprecedented step of turning down the offer of a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, accusing the body of having failed in its “duties and … responsibilities in keeping world peace.” Saudi Arabia may have had the deadlock over Syria in mind, ... Read more »