A theory of citizenship: organizing plurality in by Herman R. Van Gunsteren

By Herman R. Van Gunsteren

Does very important citizenship require ethical consensus? Or is it the power to arrange our ameliorations, that permits humans to reside jointly as voters 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, below stipulations which are faraway from excellent, is the most resource of its energy. rather than arguing for extra participation, it makes a speciality of the citizenship of these who, for no matter what cause, are already lively within the public sphere. Herman van Gunsteren develops a idea of citizenship like minded to the period of political reform that used to be inaugurated by way of the revolutions of 1989.

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They do provide snapshots, but these pictures often divert decisionmakers from the right track. The insight that rulers need new categories and coordinates seems to be widespread, Yet when they have to specify what those categories slnollld be, rulers are tongue-tied or can only talk at cross purpaxs, and thus, fail to reach a new consmsus, They struggle on with the old categories and coordinates and find their bearings as best as they can, wi'thout conviction or commitment, with all kinds of ""pictures" retouched ad hoc.

Ies. Although citizenship aims at freedom and rejects slavery in, atl its forms, it does not foster a limitlw diwersity of fleeting identities. m e n developing Cheir own Ijfestyle, citizens must always take into account that they may be beld responsible by cocitizens for the exercise of thezir citizenship, Citizenship is more than a happy-go-lucky enjoyment of one's oocvn freedom to live as onc pleases. It also requircJs rcflspect for limits that allow one" ccocitizens to reveal who they are as weail.

Thus, we are not capable of freeing ourselves completely from the social dimension, from labeling and attribution in our interaction with others. Ow idmtities arc. not (jamtents that are draped a r o u ~ ~ andessential, m d nrigislally naked "inner self""and that we can remove whenever we wish. tl~ndercertain circumstances it is possibte to resist the social attribution of identiv and to go one's own way. But ""one'sown way"" is never a purely persmal inven- 42 Plurality in The blnknawn Society tion.

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