Matthew McManus

Matthew McManus

research assistant


Matt is a fourth year PhD student in York’s Socio-Legal Studies program. His research focuses on developing a sympathetic critique of the liberal model of consciousness and its relationship to our understanding of law and legal rights in particular. He argues that the popularity of this model of consciousness has contributed to many states’ adopting of a “liberty” approach to justice. The liberty oriented approach argues that guaranteeing and protecting individual rights to non-coercion by the state exhausts the requirements of justice. In his upcoming dissertation, Matt will argue that social actors should instead adopt a dignity oriented approach to justice which realizes and amplifies the context transcending expressive powers of human consciousness by democratizing political-legal institutions and the egalitarian re-distribution of goods.  Following John Rawls, he claims this approach is attractive along the twinned dimensions of the just and the good. The link between the twinned dimensions of the just and the good in this model is that it both respects and realizes human dignity. Human rights should be re-conceptualized as legal tools through which individuals amplify their expressive powers. In this way individual dignity would be respected and amplified.