By Herman R. Van Gunsteren
Does important citizenship require ethical consensus? Or is it the power to prepare our changes, that enables humans to reside jointly as electorate in a republic? while liberal, republican, and communitarian theories of citizenship analyzed the stipulations of citizenship, the relevant message of this ebook is that the sensible workout of citizenship, lower than stipulations which are faraway from perfect, is the most resource of its power. rather than arguing for extra participation, it makes a speciality of the citizenship of these who, for no matter what cause, are already energetic within the public sphere. Herman van Gunsteren develops a concept of citizenship compatible to the period of political reform that used to be inaugurated by way of the revolutions of 1989.
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Extra resources for A theory of citizenship: organizing plurality in contemporary democracies
The cmceptualization proposed here can be used to understand situations where plurality is at issue, In this vision, plurality is not something that is simply there, it is what individuals construct in their social interaction. Such construction need not be a "b1hd" process that unfolds behhd the participants-backs. constmction of pluralit)l in which they participate. As citizens, they are ~sponsiblefor directing the constwction of plurality Plurality in T k Unknown Society D 4 l toward an outcome that instead of simply ignoring or supp~ssingtheir real differences, confirms and reasserts the identities of aX1 pasticipants as equal citizens, Constrncting anci organizing plurafity requires competence and skills that usually are scarce m d not equally avaiiable to all persons.
Mom is needed than simply abiding by the mles. It is a matter of sensibly, competently, and responsibly dealing with authority, and with situations and positions of dependence, These functions cannot be exhaustiwely laid down in rules. Individual competence also is essen- Theories of Citizenship, Old and Rew D 25 tial for the exercise of citizenship. A chairman who does not break the rules but is otherwise incompetent in presid,ing over and gtliding a meeting can be a disaster. The emphasis on cmpetence should not be exaggmated.
It fulfills a mediatk~gfunction in the interaction among identities. While questions of dtiztmship used to be concerned mainly with liberation frnm serfdom and other legal forms of domination, they nuw also concern liberation from ossified identities. d gronps used their identities as a lever to liberate themselves from established structures (women, homosexuals, Catholics), to lifestyle politics. ies. Although citizenship aims at freedom and rejects slavery in, atl its forms, it does not foster a limitlw diwersity of fleeting identities.
A theory of citizenship: organizing plurality in contemporary democracies by Herman R. Van Gunsteren