Seeing the ‘Lightbulb’ Moments

Dr Ben Turner is a Lecturer here at the School of Politics and International Relations, specialising in Political Theory. He is the current Module Convenor for the Introduction to Political Thought module. Here we ask him some questions about his time here at the University of Kent and what makes him ‘tick’.

What gets a Lecturer get out of bed in the morning?

Seeing the ‘lightbulb’ moments when a concept or solution to a problem clicks and opens new doors for a student in their thinking. I am most motivated by engaging with students to help them develop their own ideas and grow as independent and critical thinkers, particularly those working on their dissertations.

Why did you choose to work at Kent University? 

The School of Politics and International Relations has a broad and open approach to the question of what counts as politics. I particularly like that amongst my colleagues there is always research or teaching happening on a topic that is new to me and that I can learn something from.

What are some examples of roles that graduates have gone onto taking up? 

The range of opportunities available to our students is quite incredible. Past students found work with NGOs, in the civil service, diplomacy, the charity sector, journalism and in teaching. Many of our graduates have also gone on to further study on an MA and some have taken on research positions.

What new developments are there in this discipline that interest you?

I am particularly interested in recent research on the that work acts as a political space, and how common themes in political theory like freedom, power and democracy can help us think about why employment and work should be of interest to political philosophy.

What is the most pressing issue at this time for researchers in your field?

How technological development is challenging our understanding of basic political concepts and ideas. For example, what does ‘freedom’ in a world where technologies powered by artificial intelligence might play a more important role than other humans in deciding how free we are? It is important that our understaning of political concepts keep up with the way that technology is changing our world.

What would you say your most important achievement in your subject is?

My first book, which is currently in press, on the importance of the philosopher of technology Bernard Stiegler for political theory. His work provides a range of useful ideas for thinking about how technology shapes politics, and I hope that it provides some inspiration to those trying to solve political issues that arise from technological change.

Dr Ben Turner is Lecturer in Political Theory at the School of Politics and International Relations.