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, migration and digital ethics. 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 was a managing editor for openDemocracyUK (2007-2009), deputy director of the Convention on Modern Liberty (2009) and research and communications manager for Power2010 (2009-2010).  

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 (2017) 'Are human rights moralistic?'. Human Rights Review, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2017) '(Un)civil disobedience, Introduction to special issue'. Raisons Politiques, . [Details]
Aitchison, Guy (2017) 'Coercion, resistance and the concept of non-violent action'. Raisons Politiques, . Available Online [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 (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, migration and digital participation. There are three 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 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. 

The third and most recent strand I am developing focuses on the ethics and politics of digital participation. This research has emerged from an article on the ethics of online public shaming. It begins from the observation that the online world - especially social media - raises special moral complications on account of its open, participatory nature, the permanency of online interactions, the speed at which information can be publicly disseminated and the informal constraints imposed on freedom of speech.  

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