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Title: Citizenship and Identity
Other Titles: An analysis of Charles Taylor’s ‘ontological liberalism’ and Jürgen Habermas’s ‘discursive democracy’ as responses to the challenges of modernity and pluralism for constitutional democracies
Authors: Lawlor, Rachel A.
Supervisor(s): Baumeister, Andrea T.
Issue Date: May-2006
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis argues that pluralism and diversity pose a more fundamental challenge to liberal constitutionalism than is sometimes recognised by liberal political theorists. While the challenges presented by moral pluralism at the philosophical level, and by cultural diversity at the socio-cultural level, have received a great deal of attention in recent political thought, the background within which these themes become salient has not always been fully acknowledged. What is new in the modern world is not so much diversity of lifestyles, but the disintegration of frameworks that traditionally provided an unproblematic basis for political authority. What this modern challenge forces us to confront then, is the idea that ‘the people’ who are subject to law, are also, as citizens, the ultimate source of political authority. I consider in detail the work of two contemporary political theorists who have provided among the most sustained and far-reaching attempts to respond to this challenge, Charles Taylor and Jürgen Habermas. Both make a significant contribution to responding to the contemporary situation of pluralism by taking on board the ‘dialogical’ nature of identity, and the role of the ‘people’ as the ultimate source of political power. However each places a heavy reliance on a privileged standpoint that may shield political judgement from the full implications of modern pluralism: Habermas, by appealing to ‘post-conventional morality’ and Taylor, by appealing to an incipient teleology.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
History and Politics

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