Matthew Lowery

Matthew Lowery


I studied for a BA in Philosophy & Politics at the University of York between 2014-2017, graduating with first class honours with distinction in July 2017.

I then completed an LLM in Legal & Political Theory at the University of York, graduating in 2018 with distinction. I completed my Master’s thesis on “Carl Schmitt & Critical Theory: Bridging the Divide”, supervised by Dr Alasia Nuti, in which I argued that an engagement with Schmitt offers important resources for contemporary critical theorists in a range of areas. I focused on three areas in particular: The nature of democracy and politics; Liberalism’s relationship with reason and technology; and dictatorship, the rule of law, and the state of emergency. This therefore cut diagonally across the various intersections of jurisprudence, political theory, and philosophy. In order to achieve this and to develop these ideas, I put Schmitt into a dialogue with several other authors, from Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin to Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and many other thinkers in this area, to revise some aspects of Schmitt’s theory in a more progressive, emancipatory direction. 

I began my PhD at the University of Leeds in October 2019 on the POLIS department Research Excellence Scholarship.

Research interests

My PhD research builds upon the ideas and engagements developed in my LLM thesis, particularly my mounting reservations about the dominant approaches to political philosophy in the analytic traditions of Liberalism and Communitarianism. My thesis aims to provide an elaboration on the idea of radical democracy through an engagement with the works of Gilles Deleuze as well as his collaborative writing with Félix Guattari. Deleuze has already figured into debates on radical democracy in a limited way, however my contention is that his radical potential has often been overlooked and smoothed over. For example, concepts such as difference-in-itself often end up articulated via the mode of liberal pluralism, without an awareness of its original context or how it relates to the central concept of becoming-minor in A Thousand Plateaus, which would totally reconfigure what it means for democracy. The aim is to show that Deleuze (and Guattari) offer invaluable resources for rethinking radical democratic theory beyond the conventional limits of liberal democracy, with its modes of representation, state-authority, imbrication with capitalism, and so on. This also involves an engagement with the works of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, insofar as they too take Deleuze and Guattari to have much more profound and radical things to say about a democracy to come, despite some of their own limitations. All said and done, the hope is to show that engaging with Deleuze’s work can provide a much richer, more radical, and more interesting understanding of democracy than has previously been addressed in the literature, and which may have an important role to play in contemporary radical politics as a mode of political action which avoids the problems already diagnosed with Gramscian hegemonic projects like Laclau and Mouffe’s.

More broadly, I have interests in the following areas:

  • Critical social theory
  • 20th century French philosophy
  • New materialism
  • Marxism and the Frankfurt School
  • Social philosophy
  • Critical legal studies


  • LLM Legal & Political Theory
  • BA Philosophy & Politics

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Contemporary Political Theory