Friday, April 4, 2008

Chantal Mouffe on citizenship

"Modern citizenship was formulated in a way that played a crucial role in the emergence of modern democracy. But it has become an obstacle to making it wider and more pluralistic." Postmodern citizenship: acknowledging the particular, the heterogeneous and the multiple.

What is it to be a citizen in a pluralistic society? How can individual and political liberty be reconciled? How many different communities can be accommodated in the political community? What conception of social justice will regulate their claims?

Liberal view of citizen as bearer of rights is inadequate.

Communitarians (Sandal) vs. liberals (Rawls) debate: "civic republican" idea of citizenship.

Civic activity, public spiritness and political participation in a community of equals: since the C19th, seen by liberalism as pre-modern or dangerous ("common good" implies totalitarianism: cf. Hayek). The "liberties of the moderns" require the renunciation of the "liberties of the ancients" (cf. Constant, & Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty). Indeed some civic republicanists do want to renounce pluralism in the name of a substantive idea of the common good -- v. dangerous obv.

Skinner: synthesises individual & political liberty. Idea of a common good is a necessary condition for the enjoyment of individual liberty. Cf. Habermas.

"The defence of pluralism, the emergence of the individual, the separation of church and state, and the development of civil society, are all crucial elements of modern democracy. They require that we distinguish today between the domain of the private and the domain of the public, the realm of morality and the realm of politics. As a consequence, the common good cannot be conceived of in a way that implies the acceptance of one single substantive idea of the good life in all fields of society. It must be understood to refer exclusively to to the shared political ends of a democratic political community, i.e. the principles of freedom and equality for all. Citizenship concerns the way those principles are embodied in different institutions and practices, the way the political community is constructed."

Common good never actualised. Always debate over exact nature of citizenship.

Hurd's citizenship: voluntary acts of moral responsibility; privatised conception of citizenship that whisks away the notion of political community.

Democratic citizenship could provide the organising principle of a new politics of the left.

Feminist critique: Pateman. Generality and homogeneity of public sphere based on exclusion of women.

Transformation of public/private distinction so as not to relegate all plurality, all difference to the private?

New rights being claimed by women or ethnic minorities cannot be universalised? Expressions of specific needs which should be granted only to particular communities? (Cf. rule of law, decisionism).

Citizenship and social justice

Rawls' distributive justice. Defence of individual liberty, commitment to equality. Does not necessitate private property in the means of production (unlike Hayek and Nozick?). Citizenship as capacity to form, pursue & revise conceptions of the good (cf. autonomy). No place for community: precludes conceptions of the good life in which it is necessary to join with others beyond contract.

Walzer (Spheres of Justice) idea of justice. Egalitarian ideal not "simple equality" but "complex equality" -- diff. social goods distributed in accordance with a variety of criteria reflecting diversity of these goods and their social meanings. Different spheres of justice & different distributive principles: free exchange and need.

Democratic and pluralistic citizenship

Reverse-engineer concept of citizenship from democratic demands found in a variety of movements.

Democratic rights.

Welfare benefits shifted from assistance to the rights of citizenship.

E.g.: universal grants.

"A pluralistic and democratic citizenship is not concerned with indivudal questions of morality but with our obligations as fellow members of a political community"

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