Researchers at UCD


Guy Aitchison

Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Politics & International Relations
School of Politics and International Relations
University College Dublin
Dublin 4, Ireland



Guy Aitchison is an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at SPIRE where he is managing a two-year project entitled 'Citizenship at the margins: The case of migrant activism'. His research and teaching background is in political theory with a special interest in human rights, citizenship, civil disobedience, political resistance and migration. Prior to arriving at UCD, he was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (2015-2016). He completed his PhD in Political Philosophy at UCL in 2015. He did his MA at UCL and his BA at Cambridge University. 

He has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at University College London (UCL), King's College, London and the EUI. He has taught introductory courses on political theory, the philosophy of human rights, human rights institutions and standards and political theories of capitalism, public ethics and political ethics. Outside of academia, he has also worked for various NGO's and campaigns in the UK working on issues of human rights and constitutional reform. He helped to set up the UK section of openDemocracy (2007-2009), was deputy director of the Convention on Modern Liberty (2009) and research and communications manager for Power2010 (2009-2010). He also recently worked as research consultant to the Convention on Brexit.   

You can visit his personal website here and view his papers on here. He can also be found on Google scholar.





Employer: Power 2010
Position: Research and communications manager
Employer: Convention on Modern Liberty
Position: Deputy Director
Employer: openDemocracy
Position: Managing Editor
Employer: University College London
Position: Teaching Assistant
Employer: University College London
Position: Teaching Fellow
Employer: King's College, London
Position: Teaching Assistant
Employer: University College London
Position: PhD student
Employer: UCD
Position: Postdoctoral Fellow



Book Chapters

Aitchison, Guy (2017) 'Popular resistance and the idea of rights' In: Stuart White, Karma Nabulsi and Bruno Leipold (eds). Radical Republicanism: Reclaiming the Tradition's Popular Heritage. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Aitchison, Guy (2018) 'Domination and disobedience'. Perspectives on Politics, . [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2017) 'Are human rights moralistic?'. Human Rights Review, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2018) '(Un)civil disobedience, Introduction to special issue'. Raisons Politiques, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2018) 'Coercion, resistance and the concept of non-violent action'. Raisons Politiques, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2017) 'Foucault, democracy and the ambivalence of rights'. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP), . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2016) 'Three Models of Republican Rights: Juridical, Parliamentary and Populist'. Political Studies, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2015) 'Rights, citizenship and political struggle'. European Journal of Political Theory, :1-21. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2011) 'Reform, Rupture or Re-Imagination: Understanding the Purpose of an Occupation'. Social Movement Studies, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]

Website article

Aitchison, Guy (2018) The next step for suffrage: give all immigrants the right to vote. The Conversation: Website article Available Online [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2017) Interview with Irish Times on free speech and online public shaming. Website article Available Online [Details]
Guy Aitchison (2017) Borders, open borders, or no borders?. Website article Available Online [Details]
Guy Aitchison (2016) Do we all have a right to cross borders?. Website article Available Online [Details]

Book Reviews

Aitchison, Guy (2017) Book review: The Right of Necessity by Alijandra Mancilla. Book Reviews [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2017) Book review: The Ethics and Politic of Immigration by Alex Sager. Book Reviews Available Online [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2016) Book review: The Political Theory of the Irish Constitution by Eoin Daly and Tom Hickey. Book Reviews [Details]


Research Interests

I am a political theorist working broadly within the normative analytical tradition, though I am also interested in critical theory and more applied approaches. My main focus is on human rights, democratic theory, political resistance and migration. I am particularly interested in the role that our normative concepts, such as rights, play in a context of political disagreement and conflict and in the issues of legitimacy which arise when people mobilise outside official institutional channels. There are two major strands to my current research. 

The first strand is on justice and the politics of rights. In this work, which emerges from my thesis, I set out a distinctive political account of rights based on the role the concept plays in political argument, identifying the value rights have as a tool to challenge unjust structures of power and inequality. 

The second major strand is on democratic theory and political resistance. The over-arching aim of this work is to provide the first systematic popular republican (or neo-republican) account of democratic politics that accounts for the role of non-constitutional forms of popular action in resisting domination. In recent writings, I challenge the narrow focus within liberal political theory on civil disobedience, developing new conceptual categories, justifications and norms of engagement. A particular focus here has been the political mobilisation of irregular migrants and refugees. 

I have also recently become interested in the ethics of online public shaming and the limits on freedom of speech in the context of mass, participatory social media (something I was recently interviewed about for the Irish Times).

As a researcher and educator, I am keen to develop research proposals, co-organised conferences, discussions and other collaborative work that engages these issues.  



Teaching Philosophy

Student participation, class debates, clear logical thinking, critical dialogue and engagement with cutting-edge research

Enhancement of Teaching

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

Developing as a Teacher

Innovation & Leadership