Department of Political Science


Maeve McKeown

PhD Candidate in Political Science

Maeve McKeown


Maeve McKeown is a final year PhD student at UCL. Her thesis is entitled "Responsibility Without Guilt: A Youngian Approach to Responsibility for Global Injustice."  It is a development of Iris Young's work on responsibility.  She is supervised by Cecile Laborde and Albert Weale.

Maeve has a Masters in Legal and Political Theory from UCL (distinction).  Her undergraduate degree is in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester, (first class).

Prizes and Awards

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Studentship, 2010-2013
  • Gay Clifford Award for Outstanding Women Students, 2009
  • Ralph Young Prize, Top of the Year in Politics and International Relations, 2007

Research Interests

PhD title: “Responsibility Without Guilt: A Youngian Approach to Responsibility for Global Injustice”.

What responsibilities, if any, do individuals have in relation to global injustice? Through studying the anti-sweatshop movement, Iris Marion Young has developed the “social connection model” of responsibility. She claims that individual participants in global injustices, such as sweatshop labour, are not guilty of wrongdoing or liable to compensate the victims. Instead, their participation generates a “political responsibility” to work with other participants to find forward-looking strategies to transform the processes. Thus, individuals are not guilty of wrongdoing but they bear responsibility for global injustice.

Young’s argument is intuitively appealing. Because of her critical methodology, however, and the audience Young hopes to address – the “citizen-activist” – her insights are missed by mainstream political theory. In this thesis, I aim to develop Young’s account of responsibility without guilt into a coherent political theory of individuals’ responsibilities for global injustice.

Other research interests: Global Justice, Feminism, Historic Injustice, Hannah Arendt, Philosophy and Performance

Conference Presentations

  • Yaoundé PhD Seminar, Agents of Justice (August 2013). “Individuals as Agents of Justice: The Political Responsibility to Participate in Global Civil Society.”
  • Princeton Graduate Political Theory Conference (April 2011). “Who Bears Responsibility for Post-Colonial Poverty?”

Non-Academic Publications

Personal Webpage