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Staff Profile

Dr Gidon Cohen, BA (Oxon) MA (York) DPhil (York)

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 47184
Room number: SE105, Southend House

Contact Dr Gidon Cohen (email at


Gidon Cohen is Senior Lectuer in Politics and Deputy Head of the School of Government and International Affairs. He studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at St. Hugh's College, Oxford and completed an MA in Political Philosophy (the idea of toleration) and a DPhil under the supervision of Professor David Howell at the University of York. He then worked at the University of Manchester on an ESRC funded project examining the biographies of activists in the Communist Party of Great Britain and held teaching and research positions at the universities of Salford and Northumbria. He joined Durham University in September 2005.

Gidon's current research is in the field of British political history and has both substantive and methodological components. Substantively his research focuses on grassroots activism addressing questions about the nature of political participation generally and party membership specifically. His initial work on grassroots activism was on the nature of the political left in Britain interrogating the relationship between politics and social and cultural history. His current research extends these insights to the political mainstream. In his this research Gidon uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. This involves adapating statistical methods used in other disciplines to the kinds of problematic data with which historians are often faced. The development of these techniques, such as propensity score methods used by epidemiologists and capture-recapture methods used primarily by population biologists, and their application to historical data has formed a major part of his recent ESRC and AHRC funded research.

Research Groups

School of Government and International Affairs

  • Institutions and Political Behaviour
  • Political Theory

Research Interests

  • Political Activism
  • Party Membership and Organisation
  • British Political History
  • Collective Biography as a Methodology


Authored book

  • Morgan, Kevin,, Cohen, Gidon, & Flinn, Andrew (2007). Communists and British Society 1920-1991. London: Rivers Oram Press.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2007). The Failure of a Dream: The Independent Labour Party from disaffiliation to World War II. London: Tauris Academic Studies.

Chapter in book

  • Cohen, Gidon. (2009). Myth, History and the Independent Labour Party. In The foundations of the British Labour Party: Identities, Cultures and Perspectives, 1900-39. Worley, Matthew Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. 95-112.
  • Cohen, Gidon., Flinn, Andrew. & Morgan, Kevin. (2008). 'Towards a Mixed Method Social History: Combining Quantatitve and Qualitative Methods in the Study of Collective Biography'. In A Guide to Prosopography. Keats-Roahn, K.B.S.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2005). 'Happy Hunting Ground of the Crank'? The Independent Labour Party and Local Labour Politics in Glasgow and Norwich, 1932-45. In Labour's Grass Roots: Essays on the activities of Local Labour Parties and Members, 1918-45. Worley, Matthew Aldershot: Ashgate. 54-78.
  • Cohen, Gidon & Flinn, Andrew (2005). 'Locating the Typical British Communist'. In Agents of the Revolution: new biographical approaches to the history of international communism in the age of Lenin and Stalin. Morgan, Kevin, Cohen, Gidon & Flinn, Andrew Oxford: Peter Lang.
  • Morgan, Kevin & Cohen, Gidon (2003). ' Rose Cohen'. In Dictionary of Labour Biography. Gildart, Keith, Howell, David & Kirk, Neville London: Palgrave Macmillan. XI.
  • Catterall, Steve & Cohen, Gidon (2003). 'Elijah Sandham'. In Dictionary of Labour Biography. Gildart, Keith, Howell, David & Kirk, Neville London: Palgrave Macmillan. XI.
  • Gildart, Keith & Cohen, Gidon (2003). 'Tom Stephenson'. In Dictionary of Labour Biography. Gildart, Keith, Howell, David & Kirk, Neville London: Palgrave Macmillan. XI.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2003). The Independent Socialist Party. In Dictionary of Labour Biography. Gildart, Keith, Howell, David & Kirk, Neville London: Palgrave Macmillan. XI.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2001). From 'insufferable petty bourgeios' to loyal communist: Jack Gaster the RPC and the Communist Party. In Party People, Communist Lives. McIlroy, John, Morgan, Kevin & Campbell, Alan London: Lawrence and Wishart.

Edited book

  • Morgan, Kevin, Cohen, Gidon & Flinn, Andrew (2005). Agents of the Revolution: new biographical approaches to the history of International Communism in the age of Lenin and Stalin. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Journal Article

  • Cohen, Gidon & Morgan, Kevin (2015). For a Life beyond Governing Persons: Alternative Reflections on Political Life History in Britain (and Beyond). Political Studies Review 13(4): 506-509.
  • Cohen, Gidon & Mates, Lewis (2013). Grassroots Conservatism in Post-War Britain: A view from the bottom up. History 98(330): 202-225.
  • Cohen, Gidon, Mates, Lewis & Flinn, Andrew (2012). Capture-Recapture Methods and Party Activism in Britain. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 43(2): 247-274.
  • Cohen, Gidon. (2010). Political Religion and British Communism. Twentieth Century Communism 2: 197-214.
  • Cohen, Gidon, Flinn, Andrew & Mates, Lewis (2008). Political Culture and the Post-War Labour Party: Values, Practices and Activism in South Lewisham Labour Party, 1948-71. Socialist History 32: 59-83.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2005). 'Propensity-Score Methods and the Lenin School'. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 36(2): 209-232.
  • Flinn, Andrew, Cohen, Gidon & Mates, Lewis (2005). National politicians and local political parties: Herbert Morrison and the South Lewisham Labour Party. Lewisham History Journal 13: 29-60.
  • Flinn, Andrew & Cohen, Gidon (2005). The Abyssinian Crisis, British labour and the fracturing of the anti-war movement. Socialist History 28: 37-59.
  • Cohen, Gidon & Morgan, Kevin (2004). British Students at the International Lenin School 1926-37: A reaffirmation of methods results and conclusions. Twentieth Century British History 15(1): 77-107.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2002). 'Missing, Biased and Unrepresentative: The quantitative analysis of multisource biographical data'. Historical Methods 35(4): 166-176.
  • Cohen, Gidon & Morgan, Kevin (2002). 'Stalin's Sausage Machine: British Students at the International Lenin School 1926-37'. Twentieth Century British History 13(4): 327-355.
  • Cohen, Gidon (2001). 'The Independent Labour Party, Disaffiliation, Revolution and Standing Orders'. History 86(282): 180-199.

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • History & Archaeology: British Politics
  • Modern History: Britain & Ireland: British Politics
  • Politics & Society: British Politics