|Professor in Political Theory in the School of Government and International Affairs||SE101, Southend House||+44 (0) 191 33 47182|
|Centre Director in the Centre for the History of Political Thought|
Maria Dimova-Cookson completed her DPhil in Politics on the political philosophy of the British idealists at the University of York. She has previously studied philosophy as an undergraduate at Sofia University and MA in political philosophy at the University of York. Her academic appointments have been at UCL, as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and University of Sheffield as a lecturer in political theory. Since 2005 she has worked at SGIA, Durham University.
Professor Dimova-Cookson's research centers around the concept of liberty, as conceptualized by key figures such as Isaiah Berlin during the Cold War era, T.H. Green in late Victorian Britain, and Benjamin Constant in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Her primary focus is on the intricate nature of liberty, particularly the duality of positive and negative liberty. Through her research, she unveils how the interplay between these two forms of freedom elucidates many of the ethical quandaries inherent in political contexts. Her 2020 monograph Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty argues that the distinction between positive and negative freedom remains highly pertinent today, despite having fallen out of fashion in the late twentieth century. It proposes a new reading of this distinction for the twenty-first century, building on the work of Constant, Green and Berlin who led the historical development of these ideas.
Currently, Professor Dimova-Cookson's research revolves around the concept of meritocracy. This subject has gained substantial attention due to its association with the emergence of populism in the 21st century. Her research offers a qualified defence of meritocracy, aiming to tackle two interconnected challenges: (1) escalating inequalities and (2) the attack on the value of education and the values of liberal democracy resulting from the new merit-based social cleavages.
Her research methodology draws on the ideas of negative, positive, and romantic freedoms as formulated by Berlin. By employing these conceptual frameworks, Professor Dimova-Cookson seeks to shed light on the role that meritocracy plays in both realizing individual freedom and shaping societal values.
In addition to her current research on meritocracy, Professor Dimova-Cookson is also engaged in a project titled 'Issue Partisan Polarisation and Meritocratic Polarisation Trends in UK and Bulgaria after the Cold War.' The primary objective of this project is to investigate the evolution of the political left and right in the post-Cold War era in both the UK and Bulgaria. The project further seeks to understand how the concept of meritocracy intersects with these evolving political divisions in each of these countries.
Reviews of Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty:
by Gary Browning in Utilitas
by Andrew Vincent in Global Intellectual History:
by George Crowder in European Legacy:
by Ruzha Smilova in Political Studies Review:
- The concept of liberty; the positive/negative freedom distinction; contemporary theories of liberty
- The political philosophy of the British idealists and British political thought in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century
- The political philosophy of Benjamin Constant and Isaiah Berlin
- Human rights, multiculturalism and global justice
- Moral issues in contemporary political theory; moral development; value pluralism; ethical particularism versus ethical universalism; ethics of giving
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2020). Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429428173
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2001). T.H.Green's Moral and Political Philosophy: A Phenomenological Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan
Chapter in book
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2021). ‘Moral and Personal Positive Freedom’. In J. Christman (Ed.), Positive Freedom: Past, Present and Future (45-64). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108768276.004
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2014). “Welfarist and Moral Justifications of the Strong State: Reconciling Hobhouse’s and Bosanquet’s Perspectives on the Role of the State”. In C. Marshall, & S. Guy (Eds.), The Victorian legacy in political thought (145-166). Peter Lang. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0351-0681-7
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2014). Welfarist and Moral Justifications of the Strong State: Reconciling Hobhouse’s and Bosanquet’s Perspectives on the Role of the State. In C. Marshall, & S. Guy (Eds.), The Victorian Legacy in Political Thought. Peter Lang
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2014). “Do We Owe More to Fellow Nationals? The Particular and Universal Ethics in Bosanquet’s General Will and Miller’s Public Culture”. In T. Brooks (Ed.), Ethical citizenship : British idealism and the politics of recognition (200-223). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137329967_11
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2013). Defending Isaiah Berlin's distinctions between negative and positive freedoms. In B. D. Baum, & R. Nichols (Eds.), Isaiah Berlin and the politics of freedom : 'Two concepts of liberty' 50 years later (73-86). Routledge
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2013). “T.H. Green”. In H. LaFollette (Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell's International Encyclopaedia of Ethics (2238-2243). Wiley
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2012). “Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British thought”. In G. Gaus, & F. D’Agostino (Eds.), The Routledge companion to social and political philosophy (146-157). Routledge
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2012). Republicanism, Philosophy of Freedom and the History of Ideas: An Interview with Philip Pettit. In G. Browning, R. Prokhovnik, & M. Dimova-Cookson (Eds.), Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists (155-169). Palgrave
- Browning, G., Prokhovnik, R., & Dimova-Cookson, M. (2012). Introduction - Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists: Then and Now. In G. Browning, R. Prokhovnik, & M. Dimova-Cookson (Eds.), Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists (1-23). Palgrave Macmillan
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2012). Subaltern Studies, Post-colonial Marxism and ‘Finding Your Place to Begin from’: An Interview with Dipesh Chakrabarty. In G. Browning, R. Prokhovnik, & M. Dimova-Cookson (Eds.), Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists (58-73). Palgrave Macmillan
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2009). "Introduction". In M. Dimova-Cookson, & P. Stirk (Eds.), Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict (1-16). Routledge
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2007). A new scheme of positive and negative freedom: re-constructing T. H. Green on freedom. In J. Morrow (Ed.), T.H. Green (149-173). Ashgate Publishing
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2006). 'Resolving Moral Conflicts:British Idealist and Contemporary Liberal Approaches to Value Pluralism and Moral Conduct'. In M. Dimova-Cookson, & W. J. Mander (Eds.), T. H. Green : ethics, metaphysics and political philosophy (292-315). Oxford University Press
- Browning, G., Prokhovnik, R., & Dimova-Cookson, M. (Eds.). (2012). Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists. Palgrave
- Dimova-Cookson, M., & Stirk, P. (Eds.). (2010). Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict. Routledge
- Dimova-Cookson, M., & Mander, W. (Eds.). (2006). T.H. Green: Ethics, Metaphysics and Political Philosophy. Clarendon Press
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2022). The Two Modern Liberties of Constant and Berlin. History of European Ideas, 48(3), 229-245. https://doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2022.2056336
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2019). Where does real freedom begin? T.H.Green, P.P.Nicholson and the necessary but elusive binaries of freedom. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, 25(1), 129-159
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2013). Can social justice, economic redistribution and voluntariness fit into a single conception of liberty? Pettit versus Hobhouse. International Journal of Social Economics, 40(12), 1108-1122. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijse-03-2013-0074
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2012). Liberty as Welfare: the basecamp counterpart of positive freedom. Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, 18(2), 133-165
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2011). Justice as a secondary moral ideal: the British idealists and the personal ethics perspective in understanding social justice. European Journal of Political Theory, 10(1), 46-70. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474885110386005
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2010). “Republicanism, philosophy of freedom and the history of ideas: An interview with Philip Pettit”. Contemporary Political Theory, 9(4), 477-489. https://doi.org/10.1057/cpt.2010.34
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2007). On the link between the desire to be good and the nature of the good – a rejoinder to John Offer’s reply. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 9(3), 533-534. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-856x.2007.00291.x
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2005). 'Internalism and Externalism in Ethics Applied to the Liberal-Communitarian Debate'. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 7(1), 18-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-856x.2005.00164.x
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2004). Conceptual Clarity, Freedom and Normative Ideas: Reply to Blau. Political Theory, 32(4), 554-562. https://doi.org/10.1177/0090591704266147
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2003). A New Scheme of Positive and Negative Freedom: Re-constructing T.H. Green on Freedom. Political Theory, 31(4), 508-532. https://doi.org/10.1177/0090591703254386
- Dimova-Cookson, M. (2003). 'Bentham, Mill and Green on the Nature of the Good'