Theory of Citizenship: Organizing Plurality in Contemporary Democracies (Google eBook)

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Westview Press, Nov 10, 2008 - Political Science - 256 pages
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Does vital citizenship require moral consensus? Or is it the ability to organize our differences, that allows people to live together as citizens in a republic? Whereas liberal, republican, and communitarian theories of citizenship analyzed the conditions of citizenship, the central message of this book is that the practical exercise of citizenship, under conditions that are far from ideal, is the main source of its vitality. Instead of arguing for more participation, it focuses on the citizenship of those who, for whatever reason, are already active in the public sphere. Herman van Gunsteren develops a theory of citizenship well suited to the era of political reform that was inaugurated by the revolutions of 1989.
  

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Contents

I
1
III
3
V
11
VII
31
IX
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XI
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XIII
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XV
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XXI
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XXII
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XXIV
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XXVI
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XXVIII
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXXII
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XVII
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Page 131 - Stocks of social capital, such as trust, norms, and networks, tend to be self-reinforcing and cumulative. Virtuous circles result in social equilibria with high levels of cooperation, trust, reciprocity, civic engagement, and collective well-being. These traits define the civic community.
Page 29 - The problem is not of trying to dissolve them [relations of power] in the utopia of a perfectly transparent communication, but to give one's self the rules of law, the techniques of management, and also the ethics, the ethos, the practice of self, which would allow these games of power to be played with a minimum of domination
Page 131 - Defection, distrust, shirking, exploitation, isolation, disorder, and stagnation intensify one another in a suffocating miasma of vicious circles. This argument suggests that there may be at least two broad equilibria toward which all societies that face problems of collective action (that is all societies) tend to evolve and which, once attained, tend to be selfreinforcing.
Page 29 - I am interested in what Habermas is doing. I know that he does not agree with what I say - I am a little more in agreement with him - but there is always something which causes me a problem. It is when he assigns a very important place to relations of communication and also a function that I would call 'utopian'.
Page 131 - Norms of generalized reciprocity and networks of civic engagement encourage social trust and cooperation because they reduce incentives to defect, reduce uncertainty, and provide models for future cooperation.
Page 67 - ... nonsense, spread about by people who— for whatever reasons — wish to discourage others from taking an interest in public affairs. Of course, in politics, as elsewhere in life, it is impossible and pointless to say everything, all at once, to just anyone. But that does not mean having to lie. All you need is tact, the proper instincts, and good taste. One surprising experience from "high politics" is this: I have discovered that good taste is more useful here than a post-graduate degree in...
Page 30 - Liberation opens up new relationships of power, which have to be controlled by practices of liberty (Foucault 1988:4).
Page 29 - These institutions have been the more successful if they have induced us to perceive individual autonomy as something "natural" and to forget our dependence on them. Upon reflection, however, we realize that citizenship is not a natural attribute of individuals but an office in the set of institutions that we call a republic. The voice of the citizen needs an order of institutions, a hierarchy, both to sound and to have effect.
Page 67 - ... say, always, what is most significant at a given moment, and not to speak of what is not important or relevant; how to insist on your own position without offending; how to create the kind of friendly atmosphere that makes complex negotiations easier; how to keep a conversation going without prying or being aloof; how to balance serious political themes with lighter, more relaxing topics; how to plan your official journeys judiciously and to know when it is more appropriate not to go somewhere,...
Page 67 - ... science. It is largely a matter of form: knowing how long to speak, when to begin and when to finish; how to say something politely that your opposite number may not want to hear; how to say, always, what is most significant at a given moment, and not to speak of what is not important or relevant; how to insist on your own position without offending; how to create the kind of friendly atmosphere that makes complex negotiations easier; how to keep a conversation going without prying or being aloof;...

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About the author (2008)

Herman R. van Gunsterenis professor of political theory at Leiden University and the author ofTime for Retirement(1991) andThe Quest for Control(1976).

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