PhDs Awarded

Note: The content on this page is currently in the process of being updated and may be periodically unavailable while it is under construction. Thank you for your patience.


Matthew McManus

Title: Becoming to Belong: Rethinking Democratic Freedom and the Rule of Law
Supervisor: Les Jacobs
Member: Willem Maas
Member: Allan Hutchinson
Date: February 3, 2017


Matt recently defended his dissertation “Becoming to Belong” and will graduate in 2017 from 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 agency. The liberty oriented approach argues that guaranteeing and protecting individual rights to non-coercion by the state exhausts the requirements of justice. In his dissertation, Matt argues that social actors should instead adopt a dignity oriented approach to agency which realizes and amplifies individuals’ context transcending expressive capabilities by democratizing political-legal institutions and the egalitarian re-distribution of goods.  He claims this approach would yield a twinned model of rights to equal democratic authorship and to an equality of human capabilities. The link between the two rights it that when implemented both would respect and amplify human dignity. Matt can be reached at: