Three models of republican rights: Juridical, parliamentary and populist
journal contributionposted on 2021-07-27, 13:04 authored by Guy AitchisonGuy Aitchison
The republican tradition in political theory offers a distinct approach to thinking about rights that addresses long-standing objections to the depoliticising logic of the discourse through its attention to power relations and the socially embedded nature of moral claims. However, the most systematic republican theories of rights-based citizenship translate these theoretical commitments into a tame set of institutional proposals that largely affirm existing states. In this article, I critique the limits of Philip Pettit’s juridical republicanism and Richard Bellamy’s parliamentary republicanism and set out an alternative populist account of republican citizenship based on the notion of rights as ‘claims’ – a form of speech act that empowers agents with self-respect to mobilise popular support and challenge arbitrary power when political institutions are unresponsive or unavailable. Populist citizenship takes place whenever social groups and classes mobilise directly outside constitutional structures in order to contest the legitimacy of the political regime and lay claim to new rights through direct appeal to the sovereign authority of the people themselves.
- Social Sciences and Humanities