Download e-book for kindle: 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 facility to prepare our adjustments, that permits humans to dwell jointly as voters in a republic? while liberal, republican, and communitarian theories of citizenship analyzed the stipulations of citizenship, the valuable message of this booklet is that the sensible workout of citizenship, less 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 thought of citizenship compatible to the period of political reform that used to be inaugurated through the revolutions of 1989.

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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. Virtue stands not only for competa~ce,but also for an ethic of civility, of decent behavior.

Theories of Citizenship, Old and Rew D f 9 remdy, if qualified educators who share Dahl's basic consensus camot be fou~zd. An appeal to public morality also will not help, in a sociev of pure indiviciualists. The development of such a morality will clmtinw to stagnate as long as we try to deduce it fsom a variety of private moratities (Van Gunsteren 1991), for t m masons. Firstly, when private moralities conflict, which one should publicly prevail? Or should we make (30 with the overlapping consensus between them, even when this consensus Rmah~ssilent about the real and mavoidable ethical choices that holders of public office have to make?

The web of relations that results from ~ p e a t e dcitizen action and that we call poljtical culturc is a highly desirable by-pmduct oi citizen action. When it fa& to materialize, citizen action will wither. A suyportive political culture is like oxygen fnr cictizens; but it is oxygal that they Eke plants, produce throltgh their own activities. Such a political cdture cannot be fabricated through moralizing or social engineering. It can only be fvstemd and cherisf-red after it is established, and it can d y be furthered by using its hstitutions and convictions to deal with actual differences among citizens.

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