Thomas Tyerman

Thomas Tyerman (PhD Researcher and Cluster Communications Team)


BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Social Science (University of Manchester)

MA in Human Rights – Political Science (University of Manchester)



Research Interests:

Cluster Research Orientations: Studies of Citizenship, Migration and (Human) Rights

Specific research interests

Current Projects:

PDS Awarded/ESRC funded PhD research project entitled ‘Recognition and Resistance: Human Rights and Asylum Seekers in the UK’

My research draws upon Pin-Fat’s (2000; 2010) ‘grammatical reading’ approach, and her conception of (im)possible universalism, as a perspective through which I engage with liberal (human) rights theory, critical legal theory, UK asylum law and policy, migrant solidarity activism, and poststructuralist theorists such as Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Jacques Rancière. In doing so, I ask whether noncitizens, in particular asylum seekers, can appeal to their human rights as a form of resistance, and what an alternative ethical politics of human rights could look like.

To answer this, I investigate how the practices (‘language games’) that make up liberal discourses on human rights and citizenship constitute a bordering process that render the non-citizen ‘human’ an ‘(im)possible’ political subject. Whilst this enables human rights to become a governmental state mechanism by which noncitizens may be excluded and oppressed, it also serves as the site for a possible reimagining of an alternative ethical politics of recognition and resistance, one that challenges state governmentality and the boundaries of belonging by which noncitizen asylum seekers are excluded and oppressed.

My Supervisors are:

Dr Véronique Pin-Fat and Dr Cristina Masters

Keywords: Human rights – (non)citizenship – borders – governmentality/resistance – ethical-political subjectivity


Graduate Teaching Assistant POLI 10601 Introduction to International Relations

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