Political Community:

Authority in the Name of Community

hosted by the

Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law (CISRUL)

at the

University of Aberdeen

Tuesday 24-Wednesday 25 June 2014

Academic coordinator: Trevor Stack (

Please join the online debate which followed the workshop.

Speakers (see below for summaries) included Margaret Somers, Stephen Tierney, Ajay Gudavarthy, Gurpreet Mahajan, Dejan Stjepanovic, Chris Brittain, Jan Kotowski, Andreea Udrea, Katinka Weber, Rivke Jaffe, Martijn Koster, Marc Kruman, Balazs Majtenyi, David Thunder and Camille Walsh.

Following our successful Political Community workshop in June 2013 (summaries) CISRUL held a second workshop on Political Community in June 2014. We had confirmed in the 2013 workshop that the term “political community” was appropriate for identifying a core set of issues that interest us at CISRUL, even though it was evident that no term will ever carry all the right connotations and none of the wrong ones. Our use of the term is explained in the opening statements by Trevor Stack and Matyas Bodig (see below).

Speakers presented on Scotland, Netherlands, Hungary and SE Europe, USA, Bolivia, Jamaica and India, as well as on political community in philosophy, post-colonial studies, and constitutional and international law.

Tuesday 24th June

Introduction – Why “political community” now?

Trevor Stack

A. What proposing to study under rubric of “political community”

1. Suggest take “political” to mean relations or structures of authority and especially those that are somehow institutionalised, or stabilised

2. Anthropologists, archaeologists, historians have found vast array of relations of authority across human societies, but we suggest taking “political community” to mean a particular relation of authority

> political community is one

a. whose members feel somehow represented within its structures of authority

                > some kind of “vertical” representation

b. though also feel somehow obliged to their fellow-members to follow authority’s norms and accept its decisions

                > some kind of “horizontal” obligation

B. We are open to debate on every aspect of authority in name of community of members actually works

1. Been having debates about

a. representation e.g. “crisis of representation”

b. some discussion  about horizontal or mutual obligation between members

2.  We also acknowledge that both “relations or structures of authority” and “membership of community” can take many different forms

3. Under rubric of “community of members”, we are interested in

a. nations as the (arguably) paramount political communities of the contemporary world

b. but also interested in possibility of other forms of political community e.g. indigenous communities, municipalities, churches etc.

C. We proposed in workshop blurb, following discussion last year, that we…

1. Reserve the term “political community” for those that claim to be in some sense self-standing, and to exercise broad-ranging authority over much of what we do

2. Use instead term political collectives for entities such as trade unions or churches or football clubs which

a. …are also communities of members, often with some kind of vertical structures of representation and horizontal obligation

b. yet in an important sense are different from nations, for example, in that they see themselves as players in a broader political community

3. Though useful to make distinction, still very much interested in

a. how authority is exercised internally in the name of members of such entities

b. as well as in how they position themselves in relation to the political communities that host them

Matyas Bodig

Convergence between CISRUL members

  • Political communities related to institutions that claim particular kinds of authority
  • Relations of membership: mutual responsibility or ethical integration

At 2013 workshop spoke much about vertical representation but less about horizontal ties

When deal with concept, soon glimpse darker side: political community is not essentially inclusive but built on contrast between members and non-members > those who not represented by political institutions

  • how to develop concept so not guise for oppression covered by democratic ideology?
  • also to avoid essentialising community of political community? important to stress
    • contestation of membership and its boundaries, as well as responsibilities implied in membership and
    • dialectic relationship between institutions and community that claim to represent > not that community there to begin with but constituted in process

Contexts in which important

  • Referendum
  • Crisis of representation > may need new imagery of political community, or come up with different idea e.g. multitude – generates itself and without institutional scaffolding

MB own interest: how term “people” figures in international law

  • Finding solid conceptual ground for normative development


Dejan: UK already embedded in EU – is this political community?

> MB Scotland is political community embedded in UK political community: if Referendum succeeds, will lose this duality

Andreea: elaborate on ethical integration?

> MB comes from Dworkin: responsibility to fellow members and belief that institutions making decisions in your name

Hanifi: how do we reconcile membership, mutual benefit, etc. with essentialism and exclusion?

> MB duality of integration and exclusion is fundamental to all community, including family – owe family members loyalty to those outside community > tends to create status equality inside (e.g. Hungarian nobility in early modern) but hierarchical from outside (nobility ever more oppressive)

Chris: relationship between vertical and horizontal?

> MB what owe to fellow members is linked to institutional force – complying with common laws that were authenticated by institutions

Camille: in relation to vertical representation – members should feel somehow represented? but how about those who don’t feel represented?

> TS always contestation of representative claims of institutions – this is key to political community

David Thunder: political community would be encompassing – over many domains > but does this not beg question? multiple centres of authority e.g. just as national, international, regional law, could not be differentiated and exercised by different institutions

> TS yes always criss-crossing authority and may be also true of authority in name of communities of members – as my example of Mexican municipalities, may be embedded within each other and overlapping

> MB typically there has always been authority that claims to be ultimate and takes ultimate responsibility

Andrea Teti

  • useful to distinguish between resistance against and in system – accepted relations of contestation
  • not just formal conditions but also substantive conditions including material that allow authorities to do their job


  • different people within community have different relations to each other > not just matter of who is inside and who is outside – key question is who decides

Margaret: how did CISRUL get from concepts in world to heuristic use of concepts – what happens when patently in opposition? e.g. recent work by Paige et al. that in US Congress little effective representation of anyone except 10% elite

> MB institutions claim to be representative – institutions develop to ensure that this is in fact the case e.g. Congress system – in US though strong claims that “our” Constitution etc.


  • May be forms of exclusion that are positive and others that negative
  • Is ethical integration good term or risks of too strong integration?

Political Community in Context: Scotland

Stephen Tierney “The Constitution of an Independent Scotland: A Retreat from Politics?”

Abstract: This paper will give a brief introduction to the Referendum process, before looking at the Scottish Government’s proposal of a written constitution for an independent Scotland. That a written constitution would provide overarching authority for the parliament and government of an independent Scotland, as well as a detailed list of citizens’ rights, has been a long-standing commitment of the SNP. The detail of this proposal has gradually been elaborated in the course of the referendum campaign, culminating in a draft Scottish Independence Bill, unveiled on 16 June 2014 in an address by Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister to the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law. I will set out the background to this proposal, look at the terms of the proposed interim constitution contained within the Scottish Independence Bill (‘the SIB’), and consider the process by which it a permanent constitution might be drafted. I will conclude by asking whether highly elaborate and detailed constitutions are really needed in a healthy parliamentary democracy, or whether in fact an independent Scotland would be better served by an open political process in which important decisions are left to parliament or to citizens acting directly in referendums.

In previous book, noted that democracy theory objects to referendums because

  • Elite control – more easily manipulated than electoral
  • Not deliberative – aggregating pre-formed wills
  • Pathology of majoritarian decisions

Finds that problems of practice rather than principle > can overcome through institutional design

e.g. law: can take out elite control through determining

  • who sets out issue, question
  • independent oversight
  • campaign finance
  • citizen assemblies etc.

What harder is minority rights and especially in deeply divided, e.g. Belfast – earlier Referendum Republicans refused to take part which was disaster, but better in 1998 > essential to get Referendum right (similarly in Bosnia)

About Scottish Referendum, there is process people can trust in such that people will agree to even if not with

About Interim Constitution, paradoxical that rush to produce detailed Constitution putting all sorts of issues (incl. healthcare etc.) beyond reach of deliberation, effectively handing all of this to judges

> 3 demoi

  • People
  • Government
  • Judges


David Thunder: what criteria should guide what should be in Constitution?

> ST should be democracy-enabling and facilitating – but should not put policy choices based on current values, including human rights (which are effectively civil privileges), within Constitutions

Gurpreet: though danger with judges, important to protect rights for diverse groups for people, needs constitutional mechanism

> ST speaking primarily about Scotland which not divided society – need for more constitutional detail when deeply divided, though even rights should still be open for debate

Adam Fusco: need some precondition of social justice, to avoid powerful political actors setting agenda e.g. in Scotland, might be appropriate to write in welfare etc. in Constitution for first 10-15 years

> ST but seems curious to give people vote in Referendum but then not on these other issues: clarifies that not against these values but thinks should be open to debate

Christopher Brittain “Political Community and the Bonds of Love: Theology and Scottish Nationalism”

Abstract: Scholarly writing on nationalism frequently makes much of two important considerations. The first concern highlights the fact that nationalism has a tendency to encompass powerful emotions, and is both dangerous and valuable for that very fact. Such a consideration focuses on nationalism as an expression of profound attachment to the communities of which individuals are a part. The second concern points to the reliance of political collectives on shared symbols and images to represent their ‘imagined community’.  This dimension raises questions about the foundation for such symbolic representations, and the extent to which they neglect diversity and difference within the community. This paper explores these issues as they emerge in the thought of Christian theologians writing on the issue of Scottish independence.  Contemporary Christian theology is frequently suspicious and critical of nationalism and patriotic sentiment for both historic (post-Christendom) and theological reasons.  This makes it all the more curious to observe how prominent the ‘Scottish question’ is among some Scottish theologians, and how engaged contemporary Scottish churches are in the lead-up to the referendum of September 2014. An analysis of theological writing on Scottish independence helps illuminate how key elements (emotional, aspirational, historical) fuel passions that may well be an inherent element of any substantive expression of ‘political community’.

Since WWII, churches suspicious of nationalism and 1979 Scottish Independence denounced by Scottish theologian, but now being debated within church

Interest in what happens when structures of authority challenged by national identity

Definitions of nation

  • Historic: Ethnic etc. identity
  • Political (which seems more closely aligned to “political community”): here draws on Quebecois Catholic theologian Gramezon on Quebecois nationalism – critical of early wave but in 1960s shift from historical to political nationalism (popular sovereignty, self determination) which is rational and moral agenda

In Scotland similar shift from historic to political (issues incl. immigration policy, anti-nuclear etc.) but elements of historical nationalism not far from surface

Similarly, in churches’ debate: tendency among church leaders to stress political ethos in Scotland which claimed different to shallower ethos in England

  • Doug Gay: ethical nationalism, cleaned of dark side of nationalism > Independence could allow common objects of love that currently stifled in UK
  • Assumption of different political culture: objects of love not phrased in terms of ethnicity but yet of different “moral and religious culture”, which arguably reintroduce historic nationalism

Churches’ version of nationalism has often depended on how can influence government

e.g. Free Church has urged members to vote No because Christian churches currently privileged in Scotland and might lose this in independent Scotland, being written out of Constitution

> tend to share presupposition of difference between Scottish and English ethos – here in terms of place given to churches

Quotes other theologian Jacobs: admits danger in emotive aspects of nationalism (which echoed in CISRUL’s rubric for “political community” – “one whose members feel somehow represented”)

> how to avoid emotive aspects which can construct borders

Nadia Kiwan, Rachel Shanks and Trevor Stack “Schooling in Political Community”

Abstract: We will report on CISRUL’s collaborative project to gauge what we are calling “political community” in schools in the Aberdeen region. For the purposes of the project, we understand “political” in terms relations of authority and especially how these are institutionalised (or stabilised); “political community” is a particular relation of authority – authority is exercised in name of some kind of community. Through focus group discussion among 16 and 17 year old pupils, we set out to a) construct a profile of the relations of authority in the lives of the pupils, both in and beyond school, and b) determine to what extent pupils justified those relations of authority on the grounds they felt represented as members of community. We included questions about voting in the Scottish Independence referendum – the voting age was lowered from 18 to 16 for the 18 September 2014 poll. Our provisional conclusions are as follows:

  • Beyond parents, pupils associate rules and authority primarily with schools (before government, police and employers), at least a third feel they could at least potentially have a say in school rules, while several say that they owe it to teachers to obey the rules (vertical obligation) though often qualifying this with a fear of consequences if they do not follow the rules.
  • After schools (and family) pupils view government, police and employers as authorities in their lives, but don’t feel represented by MPs or MSPs or have much of a say in anything, although they do say rules outside school are more binding (while school is good training for learning to obey) and some feel obliged to others (vertical and horizontal) to obey rules and authority outside school.
  • About voting in Referendum, most agree that non-temporary residence in Scotland should make eligible and most intend to vote because they feel it will affect their (individual) futures, while in terms of age, only a few share critics’ fears that 16/17 year olds will be unduly influenced or uninformed and most feel confident of knowing what to vote, although many don’t yet feel sufficiently informed and look especially to schools to help.

Click for the Powerpoint slides.


Jan Kotowski: does theologians’ distinction correspond to civic versus ethnic nationalism?

Michael Keating: not exclusion that controversial but criteria for it, and culture doesn’t have to be primordial but constructed through as basis for public sphere

  • counterfactual tends to be other national project rather than cosmopolitanism, in this case English project
  • typically appeal is to universal values, starting with US constitution, but being repackaged

> CB agrees that culture in itself not problem but how becomes essentialised? in case of Gaelic, for example, curious that goes on signs in Aberdeenshire instead of Doric

Gurpreet Mahajan

  • to NK et al.: schools are way in which we initiate people into political community in that learn to obey authority, therefore if fear of punishment or cost of disobeying, can’t be good training ground into political community > best not to assume that really being initiated into political community?
  • to CB: in relation to Quebecois, why not separate “cultural” of shared way of life from deeper “historical”

> CB queries whether distinction between them is useful

Shira: phrasing of Referendums can be extremely manipulative

> ST agrees e.g. under de Gaulle

Martijn Koster: realizes that political community closely related to debates on sovereignty (despite Foucault: we still act as though there were sovereign)

David Thunder: seems problematic to ground political community in national identity, e.g. conscious effort in Basque Country to inculcate Basque values in schools etc.

Canglong Wang: contradiction between homogenised emotional process and disparity of emotions e.g. in China: nationalised “Chinese dream” which government urges on individual Chinese, but oppressing disparity of emotions and experiences in different Chinese lives

> CB political nationalism gets away from cultural nationalism by highlighting deliberation

Margaret Somers: referenda in state of Michigan

  • Anti-affirmative action referendum: many understood as pro-affirmative action but in fact Right has taken over civil rights language of colour blindness
  • Financial managers appointed in cities that bankrupt: referendum against this which successful, but Republican legislature tweaked bill and re-passed new bill with coda that may not be subjected to future referenda > corrupting attempt at resistance

> ST doing direct democracy in very cold climate

Matyas Bodig to ST: about constitution making after Referendum

  • shares concerns about what putting beyond deliberation, but also necessary to have constitutional framework in place quickly, though could have temporary constitution in South African style
  • in relation to human rights (which ST said would not include), MB insists that articulate minimum content of membership in political community, systematic violation of which would lead to breaking moral [?] ties between government and citizens > defines where we stand in relation to each other and government, ensuring there can be ethical integration

> ST yes important to have framework e.g. that prisoners can vote (which in US excludes 20% of young black males) and proposes minimalist package of civil liberties (vote, criminal justice), but other things should be left open to political debate; and how possible to enforce right to healthcare etc.?

Andrea Teti

  • to MB: just talking about civic and political rights?
  • to ST: civil and political rights often used to marginalise and exclude, but we don’t dismiss as easily as social and economic

> ST civil and political are within realm of what judges can do

Katinka Weber: did schools project ask about community?

> RS preferred not to include in questionnaire, but schools were homogenous in terms of ethnicity

Political Community in Context: USA

Marc Kruman “Race, Property and Gender in the Early U.S. Republic: Reconfiguring the American Political Community”

Abstract: Historians of the emerging political community in post-Revolutionary America traditionally have depicted a linear progression from a political community composed of white propertied men to all white men. This account is partially accurate of course. Property as a marker distinguishing white men did erode in the half century after independence. But the story was far more complicated. In my presentation, if it is accepted, I will examine how and why property as a qualifier for membership in the political community began to disappear much sooner than suggested by scholars and how and why a racist democracy emerged later than is usually posited. I will examine the ways in which changing understandings of representation—in particular the idea that broad political participation was essential to protect the citizenry from a potentially dangerous government–    helped to reconfigure the American political community from a hierarchy of property to a hierarchy of race and gender. I will conclude with a discussion of how Alexis de Tocqueville sought to solve the problems caused by a broad (if still delimited) democracy. If civic virtue rested in the propertied at the onset of the Revolution, by the mid-nineteenth century all white males were deemed worthy participants in public life. How could political community be secured in the face the centrifugal forces unleashed by a broad democracy?

In US transition from property holders to race rather than wealth which opened up participation for women

In 1831 citizens of Newboro, NC wrote letter complaining of free black men voting in local elections

  • they used to dominate local trade as ship captains, and vote solicited since held balance
  • letter writers argue that founders couldn’t have intended to empower blacks, arguing that only whites had been allowed to vote

By 1850s hard to imagine that anyone could ever in 1830s have defended black suffrage

> Revolution different to what gave birth to in end:

  • began with classical republican thought – economic independence freeing men to act for public good and giving stake in society’s well-being, but…
  • imperial authorities argued that acted for good of empire even if those outside Britain voted, i.e. that political community, but not kind that US colonists embraced
    • made right to vote primary issue for full membership
  • shift from property as measure of personal independence to allowing all tax payers to vote for all or some elected officials, thus no longer economic independence, instead citizens needing right to vote to protect against oppression of rapacious assembly

Thus only if assumed that representatives will represent you, don’t need to constrain them, but if create interest apart from you, need to place constraints on what could or could not do

  • presumed loyalty was marker, and Revolution tends to privilege loyalty to cause – thus women voting in New Jersey (in 1790 NJ refers to voters as he and she), militiamen including 16 year olds had right to vote > “opening up Pandora’s Box”
  • typically when women or free blacks then began to influence outcome of election, they get disfranchised > racist democracy in North as well as in South

Political community is malleable > what discuss as normative needs to be historically contextualised

Margaret Somers “A Political Community—Divided?”

Abstract: If defined as “one whose members have a shared stake in political institutions and, for that reason, subject themselves to the norms and decisions of those institutions,” what is the theoretical, political, or sociological question to which political community is the answer?  Does its implication that there is a unified normative political order adhered to by a body of members serve as a historical counterfactual to the fact that in the U.S. over the last four decades there has been the largest transfer of wealth, income, and public resources from middle and low income sectors to the upper-most echelons of the top 1% (which captured 95% of all gains in economic growth from 2009 to 2012)?  The concept sits uneasily with the reality that it has not been a return to “free markets” or deregulation that has generated what Picketty dubs the rise of a new patrimonial capitalism and its yawning gaps of inequality. Rather it has been deliberate government policies that have built this ever-widening divide by coddling investments and punishing wages, starving public goods, and undermining the meager citizenship rights of the social state—all in the work of steadily moving wealth upward. And if a political community entails a culture of shared stake holding, and a collective willingness of its members to mutually “subject themselves” to its rules–i.e. give up a degree of autonomy and freedom for the sake of the whole—then how do we reconcile that desiderata with what Pope Francis in his recent apostolic exhortation calls “An economy of exclusion,” which he tells us is “no longer…about exploitation and oppression…[T]hose excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised—they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are …the outcast, the ‘leftovers’.”  As products of the “killing fields of inequality” (Therborn), these undeserving poor are not recognized as moral equals, and so are excluded from membership in any community or nation, and even from human fellowship itself. No longer subjects of empathy, the socially excluded are a surplus population, forced to exist entirely outside of any even notional political community, and with the exception of the police and the criminal law, outside of contact with and access to the very political institutions that define a community.  As the “internally stateless,” they are not just unnecessary and disposable; they are inconvenient aggravants.  Their existence poses no moral friction against policies that withhold health care (Medicaid), eradicate food stamps, eliminate unemployment benefits, and legislate the unconstitutionality of the minimum wage. Critics of these socio-economic realities attribute it to the rise of unfettered free markets and deregulation. But money, like water, does not flow upward; these sociological accomplishments have been actively achieved by political practices and institutions that serve no “community” but a narrow patrimonial elite. These observations raise deep questions about the sociological meaning of a political community with any “shared stakes” or mutually recognized political authority.  Perhaps there is an alternative conception of political community that can be mobilized as a countervailing power to this divisive engine of inequality?

Skepticism vs. “political community” as defined here

1. False universality of vertical integration > certainly not case in US: maybe shared norms but not mutual stake-holding > explicit mechanisms of exclusion, not just accidental

2. Site of horizontal naturalised relations: typically now in “social capital” churches etc.

3. Absence of rights in definition

Pope Francis: argues complete exclusion (shows slide of exclusion in New Orleans: floating body)

> argued in New Atlantic article that Pope owes to Polanyi rather than Marx

Polanyi: self-regulating society is utopic for several reasons:

1. Assumptions of market fundamentalists of self-regulating entity stem from “social naturalism” in Hobbes and then through Joseph Townsend to Malthus – social organisation operates on laws of Nature, with humans are biological rather than moral being

> Polanyi: market fundamentalism requires social naturalism as ontology > social exclusion justified in terms of pre-political undistorted state: distribution of resources

Hayek: market society must be treated as natural state of mankind

2. Because impossible – economy dependent on social engineering…

3. …by political power: markets enormously increase range of government regulation > not just infrastructure but land, labour are only possible through government intervention

Massive redistribution of wealth and income since 70s which is not natural workings but deliberate government policy

> free market capitalism not about free markets but transferring upward through policy etc.

Though “deregulation” is coded as return to natural outcomes > but deregulation is in fact policy to transfer wealth upwards, while “regulation” is improving conditions for middle and lower classes

End of power of social state and social citizenship, not end of power at such – world without public goods, which are criteria for membership in any community, which have as their correlative rights giving protection from state commodification

Marshall: it is only access to public goods that make us recognizable to each other as citizens > this is why health care etc. are social rights

Zones of right-lessness – show slide of black man with child faced by National Guard in New Orleans: though FEMA took days, NG there within hours

> human rights never frees from police and army

Problems with CISRUL definition of political community:

  • False universality: no vertical integration
  • Not autonomous markets but directed

> MS preferred definition: civil society and communities in alliance with social state, turning communities into sites of rights bearing citizens (to dismay of communitarians), requiring Power of social state, rights and institutions

Jan Michael Kotowski “A Territorialization of U.S. National Identity? The Politics and Discourses of the U.S.-Mexico Border”

Abstract:  The Obama administration has not only not reversed the decade-old militarization of the US-Mexico border, but instead heavily increased spending on so-called “border security” and immigration enforcement. This paper aims to describe and analyze the interplay between the seemingly never-ending policies of intensified immigration enforcement (even within frameworks of “comprehensive immigration reform”) and broader public discourses centered on the southern border. It shall be argued that the border with Mexico has become the chief manifestation of a territorialization of U.S. national identity, meaning that the rather abstract ideological aspects of the complex U.S. national identity formation have become concretized through a territorial dimension. Furthermore, within the self-proclaimed American “nation of immigrants,” the territorialization of the border is accompanied by racialized discourses of “Mexican otherness” that attempt to keep certain aliens excluded from the socio-political community of the United States. This “identity shift” can be seen not only in the political willingness to actually fortify the border, but also in various public discourses, ranging from talk-radio to TV series such as “Border Wars” and, of course, political rhetoric from various political alliances and lobby groups. The proposed paper will commence with a theoretical discussion of the relationship between borders, political community, and national identity and include an empirical part focused on current discourses of “border security.”

Militarization of border leads to territorialisation of US identity in past 25 years – adds to repertoire of US identity

> legitimizes deeply exclusionary citizenship practices though concretization of “the law” into political category, with border as faultline of this discourse, making clear to Americans who can rightfully belong to political and national community

Two sides of US Immigration discourse

  • Nation of immigrants
  • Exclusivity

> but Roger Smith: not distinct but have developed together (Honig: nationalist xenophilia produces xenophobia at same time)

Immigrant policy:

  • only seen enforcement with doubled budget in 10 years, increase in border guards and border fence extending across most of border except Rio Grande
  • but Republicans claim border still not secure in order to stymie CIR, even if in fact reversed border flow
  • meanwhile 1994-2009 5607 migrants died in border acc. to SRA
  • thus year 50K+ minors have tried to enter and held in legal limbo of detention centres, unclear whether can stay or will be deported

Cultural manifestations e.g. “Borders Wars” on National Geog showing Border Patrol catching illegals

Kaufman optical model: Referent > Ideological lens > Symbolic resources > National image

> is territory the referent? Or is it symbolic resource that needs to be defended by state?


  • Fortified border concretizes eligible political community, including in voluntary terms – choosing not to break law
  • Given that US citizenship tied to abstract notion of “law”, seemingly stable, works to articulate boundary between legal and illegal
  • Inside and outside heavily racilsied but appear as natural outcomes of enforcing law: Latino underclass seen through lens of law, especially at time of “color blindness”


ST: territory was in 19th century always important like Euro nation-state e.g.US-Mexico, Louisiana Purchase

> JK in 20th century territory becomes secondary [or that diff notions of territory]

> MK agrees important in 19th century though agrees that receded

> MS argues that Republicans in 1980s aggregated conservative Evangelicals with Wall Street etc. combining anti-abortion etc. with tax cuts for rich; but also deeper liberal-Anglo anti-statism despite conflation with drug-seeking dog stat

>> ST political mobilization has tended to play key role and often against Supreme Court – it seems that Constitution is no solution

David Thunder

  • To MS “community” can still be aspirational even if  not actual
  • To JK referent it created by ideological lens, not just filtered through it > dialectical process: perhaps referent is simply “we” or “our community”

Ajay: in global South seems different story, at heart of neoliberal era, massive expansion of rights discourse and welfare programmes etc. > capitalism is justifying itself in terms of public goods in compensation, including for primitive accumulation

James King:

  • does “homeland” (Homeland Security) mean different sense of territory?
  • also UK Border Force programme that’s looking for drugs, immigrants, etc.

JMK: IRCA started fortification but only later that criminalisation of immigration

  • though MK there is counter-narrative to criminalisation: it is politically contested

MK queries Ajay’s comment that different narrative in global South – treatment of minorities that extraordinarily exploitative socio-economic system, e.g. recent documentary on leather-workers in India

> MS – finds case of India to be anomalous, giving example of Pinochet ending social welfare

Gurpreet: if political community undertakes task of redistribution and rights of people, then need JMK’s boundaries around it?

> JMK agrees, giving ex. of left-wing anti-immigration who want to keep resources for own people

Nigel: deregulation especially in international sphere, e.g. WTO, and tax havens are regulated in favour of wealth

Dejan: is racist democracy since 1850s just US phenomenon?

Pablo Marshall to MS: suspicious about possibilities of rebelling against universality, rather than ideal political community

> MS doesn’t want to discard universality: UDHR is full of socioeconom rights is universal aspirational document, problem is Republicans trying to condition

James King: liked internal statelessness – is this just experience of racialised underclass?

? liberals would argue that don’t need stake in power but only to be protected, e.g. women don’t need in own right but to be protected by men

Political Community in Context: India

Gurpreet Mahajan “Ideas of Political Community: A Contextual Exploration”

Abstract: Although the concept of political community has a long history, going back to ancient Greece, its meaning has to be understood contextually. In the modern world, the idea of political community was employed by Hegel to suggest that the state may possess legal authority but it gains legitimacy only when the subjective will of the citizens coincides with the objective law. Since then the notion of political community has been employed to argue that a sense of being a community is necessary to hold the members together; in fact, without it the state cannot perform its essential functions or create the conditions necessary for good life. Yet, the notion of political community that emerged as a critique of the Weberian and liberal conceptions of the state had the possibility of furthering cultural majoritarianism.  It was to minimize this risk that the republicans argued that members of a political community would share only commitment to a set of political ideals or values, perhaps in the form that they are enshrined in the constitution of that polity. The case of the indigenous people in North America reveals that even this understanding can be a source of disadvantage for the minorities; but the point I wish to emphasize here is that this conception of political community, with its universalist assumptions, accounts for many of the difficulties that western democracies are today confronting while dealing with the concerns of minorities in their society. A comparison with India would highlight this even more sharply. From the struggle for political freedom to her journey after independence, the political leadership in India was keen to nurture a political community but they were mindful of the possibility of it expressing the cultural ethos of the majority. Hence they constructed a new cultural narrative of peaceful co-existence of communities and a syncretic tradition. This was supplemented by a historical narrative comprising of a positive representation of different communities. It is this that made the public sphere more diverse and allowed for legal pluralism. While the Indian framework is not without its limitations it seems that even the republican conception of political community needs to be supplemented by such strategies of representation to accommodate minorities on equal terms. Unlike democracies in the west India did not, however, reflect on the nature of ties that bind citizens together. This space was occupied by social, ascribed communities. It was easy to lapse into a situation where citizens began to relate to each other as members of different communities – a trend that has since taken deep roots in the functioning of its electoral democracy.

Hegel: political community involves people with set of institutions taking decisions about governing selves, but also political community in which institutions don’t just exercise authority but seen as legitimate, such that we feel realized as free, self-determining individuals > what this means will is not fixed idea but will inevitably shift… legitimacy for Hegel is when voluntarily submit yourself to what law says, because you think that does represent what doing yourselves

India: aspiration to be seen as political community – something that have to achieve: sees itself as political community in making

> in struggle against colonial powers, sense of making of political community, though not without internal dissent: different opinions across religious and caste lines

Key moment at which get together and deliberate about shared aspirations > making constitutions is key process: in many contexts doesn’t get accepted, so achievement when come to consensus and give themselves constitution, giving basic structure of what polity will be

What allowed consensus and what sustained it?

  • Element of representation: India conscious that going to political community but with many communities within it, which should all be represented – though never quite achieved, what crucial is effort to move in this direction

> Representational moment gives stake in political community, important in nurturing and sustaining consensus

  • But needs to be nurtured and sustained > need to bring stronger notions of sharing: how to do without alienating some groups and other?

Consensus has held well despite many challenges from groups, since involvement in electoral process – you can influence outcome, therefore gives people stake even when being pushed to peripheries

As soon as political community, other forms of community and belonging come in, strengthening ethnic bonds etc. which are in tension with political community, but pushes to build ways in which different groups are involved in process

Ajay Gudavarthy “Invoking Community and Imposing Authority”

Abstract:  Community is central to the way authority is imagined in India. There is a palpable tension between the way an idea of cultural/political community, around caste, religion, ethnicity and region is invoked, as against the understanding that in a democracy authority is truly `secular` when it moves beyond community and imagines the process as an interaction between individual-citizen and the political process or one that is trans-sectional, rather than an enclosed community. This tension will be mapped through a debate around:

        • the (il)legitimacy of the practice of following what is referred to as `vote-bank` politics vis-a-vis religious minorities, especially the Muslims, as against the rational/informed choice made by the `general` electorate.
        • Similarly, there is a tension between mobilizing identity and the need to move towards post-identity and post-ideology mobilization around development and governance.
        • With regard to caste, there is a tension between caste-based parties, and caste-based policies such as the affirmative action policies (referred to as reservations in India) and the need to have an affirmative action policies on the basis of economic (class) criterion.

The paper will look at the either side of the divide, those for invoking the idea of entrenched community (essentially kinship-based) to mobilise the subaltern against the majoritarian and hegemonic power of the dominant groups on the state,as against those opposed to the idea as this kind of community-based mobilisation is leading to weaker citizenship-rights and entrenched psyche that is resulting, not in questioning the dominant authority but spurt in intra-subaltern conflicts.

Tension between ascriptive and civic community on other, for long time, but now reaching dead end

> India now going toward majoritarian turn, using language of civic solidarity and community (??), in as multiculturalist positions etc. getting exhausted

But post-colonial: intrinsic, hidden resources within ascriptive communities, which can make for civic community, even when demanding special status etc.

Why doesn’t ascriptive vs. civic get resolved?

Two case studies

1. Survey of Muslims in recent election when Muslim candidates not returned

  • Muslims interviewed say that the more political representation, the more problems will face > they say only want tickets when have majority and can vote en bloque
  • Hindu majority looks at as vote bank politics, which weakening project of citizenship, polarising along communal lines, rather than “pseudo-secular” discourse of appeasing Muslims as minority
  • Muslims interviewed by saying that when Hindus vote in block called secular while when Muslims vote in block called communal; and saying that Hindus will not vote for Muslim candidates, nor Dalit candidates

o   Slogan: “justice for all, appeasement of none”

2. Defeat of post-colonial myth of ascriptive communities becoming included and transforming, instead reproducing themselves

  • in fact what produces is new social elites among Dalits and Muslims, e.g. urban Dalits dropping discourse of land reform, now instead affirmative action policies
  • Patron-client relations (?)
  • Intra-subaltern conflicts e.g. within Dalits, between OBCs and Muslims, etc. etc. now seems to replace conflict with upper castes etc.

3. Affirmative action: opponents argue to move away from caste to class-based reservations in order to break old caste barriers

  • This is in Constitution though eventually decided that backward classes were backward castes, so comes full circle
  • Now all caste groups want to be recognized as backward, disputing among themselves, and Jat landed elite get declared backward by Congress, because shift from status hierarchy to share in state resources

> as ascriptive communities becoming internally fragmented, now more attracted toward majoritarian civic solidarity, not just for middle and upper class, but for subaltern

  • especially since all castes are both oppressed and oppressors

Whereas elsewhere, turn toward difference in recent years, this was starting point in India: India doesn’t have comfortable language, which is where both liberal and post-colonial literatures have gone wrong, thus need for new political language in India


Hanifi for GM: she says representation is important for reaching consensus, while Ajay sees ascriptive based representation creates new elites – how can consensus between elites help sort out our problems in political community?

> GM tension exists – fact that is representation does help to assert symbolically that political community exists: even if elite representatives don’t speak for you all the time, will do so at particular moment e.g. on land reform

Chuck: seems parallel to US in that Voting Rights Act meant to protect ability to vote en masse, though SC argues that this just encourages voting along those lines, proposing that not to use race to categorise votes

> AG some similarities but in India argument has been that use caste to fight caste

David Thunder: on ascriptive vs. civic, sometimes only way communities can negotiate interests is by acting as community, though liberal ethos that have rights as individuals

> AG not being replaced by individualism even though groups or communities no longer stable

Ritu Vij

  • for GM often argued that Hegelian leads to communitarian notion but for Hegel this is also aspiration or end of history – but politics of Hegelian can only be status politics, while Jean-Luc Nancy develops community in anti-statist understanding of politics
  • for AG, may be that turn in India from caste to class? i.e. shift in capitalism

> AG yes agrees that possible

Martijn Koster: Are Muslims voting for Hindu candidates in return for resources? If so would Hindus vote for Muslims?

> AG yes, post-colonials feel that outside contract etc. but in fact often contractual negotiation, despite language of good governance and development which stigmatises identity politics, using  sheer numbers of voters as bargaining power; can include simply being promised protection e.g. from eviction of slums from “illegal” land

Rivke: Though can be Hindu and Indian, seems not possible to be Muslim and Indian: are these competing?

> GM yes, majoritarian groups may put pressure to prove themselves as loyal citizens, while Muslims and others may demand more than just recognition or symbolic presence

> AG demanding place for inclusion e.g. through reservation and other claims, also stigmatises and degrades (i.e. it is possible to make demands as Muslims but this degrades you in sphere of civil society)

Nigel: To GM, Amartya Sen proposed if that have multiple identities, less likely to be essentialist about single one

> GM Constitution gives space for multiple identities, esp. religious, caste and class

Raul Acosta: sometimes sounds like dichotomising community and individual, though Ajay argues that turn away from ascriptive to communities but not toward individual – Raul quotes anthropologist in Africa who make virtue of dependence on others, stressing sociality and need to act together

> AG loosening of kinship ties but not clear where constructed communities will go

Katinka Weber: possible that overlapping communities whereby inclining to local communities for certain issues and national community for others

> GM yes, and there are times when national is final and others times when cultural is final

> AG communities in India always ahead of social scientists – when arguing that too structured, suddenly alliance between Dalits and Muslims etc. > very hard to predict

> GM going to be dilemma for much of world – find ways to make space for other community memberships: perhaps this is nature of political community that can never be all-encompassing, universal, but always need to find historical resources to forge political community

Rivke to GM: do you think Britain successful at accommodating diversity?

> GM British were good at dress codes etc. but visible signs were not really issue

> AG recent EU statement saying that need to learn from India how to deal with diversity – in Europe very codified diversity but in India is lived which is why codified segregated multiculturalism can never work in India

Wednesday 25th June

Political Community in Context: Hungary and Southeast Europe

Balazs Majtenyi “Authority in the Name of Nation”

Abstract: The presentation examines the theoretical issues regarding the use of the term nation in constitutions and analyses the relationship between the identity of the state and the protection of human rights. The impact of international and transnational human rights documents have remained limited in the area of the identity of a political community so far. Yet, the constitutional understanding of the nation directly effects the interpretation of fundamental rights and other constitutional principles. The presentation examines the different ways of institutionalizing the concept of nation in constitutions, then it discusses what consequences may result if the principles of constitutionalism and national identity of the state are in conflict. The predominant use of an ethnic concept of the nation may cause legitimate concerns for domestic human rights protection. This hypothesis can be examined through the example of how the concept of the nation has changed in Central and Eastern European constitutions. The presentation compares the Constitution of 1989 of Hungary with the recent Hungarian Fundamental Law (2011), and it discusses the consequences of the different terminology on human rights protection. Similarly to most European democratic constitutions, the 1989 Constitution used primarily a civic concept of nation, while the Fundamental Law introduces an ethnic concept. The official definition of the ethnic majority can reveal a lot about a society, including the status of minority groups, but also about the state of constitutionalism. An analysis of the Hungarian Fundamental Law, which uses the concept of an ethnic nation in an unconventional way, can help to interpret the processes that lead to crises of new democracies. The presentation tackles the question how the primary use of the ethnic concept of the nation can be reconciled with the moral equality of citizens and how it is possible to interpret human rights institutions if the state identifies itself with the ethnic nation.

New Hungarian Constitution

  • begins “We Hungarians…with sense of responsibility for every Hungarian” > defines nation as spiritual and cultural community: ethnic concept of nation
  •  “we recognize role Christianity has played in preserving our nation”
  • “testament between Hungarians past, present and future”: refers to transcendent, non-secular layer of contract
  • no reference to equality, instead to faith, loyalty etc.
  • similar to Jacobean: any social groups fragment national will (even though in Hungary will of ethnic nation as opposed to Jacobean will of public sphere)
  • defined as criminal organisations that betray nation, meaning that government can restrict human rights
  • protecting family as basis of nation’s survival, which restricts rights of childless couples etc.
  • distinguishes recognised and non-recognised minorities, the latter becoming second- or third-rate citizens, being indirectly discriminating against Roma minority
  • right to decent housing but in same article possibility of punishing homelessness “in order to protect cultural values, legal rules can punish homelessness” (also unusual to restrict fundamental rights to protect cultural values)
  • to restrict freedom of speech, protection of dignity of Hungarian nation (whereas dignity usually used for dignity of person, rather than community or nation)

Citizenship legislation creates inequalities in frame of citizenship

  • Everyone has to vote, but non-resident ethnic Hungarians have only one vote > argues really about government

In name of ethnic nation, Hungarian government can limit human rights, and constitution reflects interest of government rather than moral values

  • Also, promotes traditional Christian family who not living in public area and not Communist

> thus does not fulfil integrity condition of modern constitutions, going against republican tradition of country

Andreea Udrea“From Recognition to Non-Resident Citizenship: Hungary’s Kin-state Policies and Their Conceptions of Equality”

Abstract: Even though the Act LXII of 2001 on Hungarians Living in Neighbouring Countries became a legal standard in Europe following the evaluation of the legitimacy of a kin-state’s involvement carried out by the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law, the multiplication and diversification of European kin-state policies in the last decade has heightened the debate over the normative foundations of a kin-state’s intervention as responsibility for justice. The Hungarian legislation of 2001 sets a kin-state’s duties to be the responsibility to protect the cultural identity of its kin-minorities in the neighbouring states and to support their cultural flourishing. However, by facilitating the access of the members of its kin-minorities to non-resident Hungarian citizenship, the Act XLIV on Hungarian Nationality from 2010 extends Hungary’s kin-state responsibility from a duty of recognition to a constitutional commitment to equal citizenship. Focusing on the case of Hungary’s kin-state policies, this paper discusses the articulation of its trans-domestic duties of recognition and equality, and examines the relationship between a kin-state’s duty of identity recognition and that of equality. Contrary to dominant views in liberalism, I show that in the case of the Hungarian legislation on kin-minorities, identity recognition is not instrumental to achieving equality between resident and non-resident citizens. I argue that their lack of convergence weakens the inclusive and democratic value of citizenship putting a kin-state’s policies at odds with liberalism.

Kin-minorities: groups incorporated in one state but identifying with core group in other state

e.g. Danish in Germany, Italians in Croatia and Slovenia

Her focus is on kin-state obligations

Political community: her focus is on inclusion and accommodation – integration of new members in political community when members continue to live in other countries

[but is inclusion really the primary function of political community: surely more fundamental questions]

Kin-state legislation extends state’s obligations beyond borders: shows that shared identities politically important beyond borders of state

Liberal cosmopolitans in 2 camps

1. reject shared identity: doesn’t capture individual experience (e.g. Woldron)

2. defend moral and political importance of ties among citizens or groups of citizens: liberal nationalism does not contradict cosmopolitanism – depends on instance

> she takes this position

On basis of case study of Hungarian Act of 2001, no evidence that undermines human rights of Hungarians living abroad (beneficiaries) nor duties to rest of people beyond borders, not against moral equality and may even promote it

  • Act targets c. 3M citizens living in several countries offering assistance in education, culture and science in Hungary and in home states
  • Disassociates duty of identity recognition from citizenship of beneficiaries > independent of differences in status between citizens in Hungary and Hungarian minorities
  • Does  not address asymmetries between Hungarians within borders and those beyond

Nationality Act of 2010: non-resident citizenship policy > no longer requirement to reside in Hungary but instead showing genuine link with Hungary

  • Includes right to vote agreed in 2011

Both Acts create inequalities between resident and non-resident citizens

Dejan Stjepanović “Statehood alternatives: A comparative perspective on territorial politics in Europe”

Abstract: Politics of historic regions in Western Europe have received significant scholarly attention. Much less has been said about their counterparts in other parts of the continent. There is a renewed tendency among certain sub-state regional political actors in Western Europe to focus on state building while their counterparts in Southeastern Europe are excluding the independent statehood option. I will examine the commonly asserted claim that most territorial political projects will ultimately lead to demands for the establishment of an independent state, even if they are de-ethnicising (moving from ethnic towards civic claims) and stressing territorial criteria for membership. This is an innovative research as it compares territorial politics in sub-state historic territories from Southeastern and Western Europe. It offers an original contribution to the existing literature by rebutting teleological understandings of territorial political processes, the assumption that there is a finality of territorial politics – the establishment of a sovereign nation state.According to Milward (2000), European integration strengthened the role of nation states in Europe. However, European integration provides a number of ways in which the nationalities question can be accommodated. It provides mainly symbolic but also some practical opportunities that challenge the doctrine of unitary state sovereignty. EU integration provides a number of opportunities for stateless nations (and regions) to project themselves beyond state borders (Keating 2001) allowing them to by-pass the state as the only relevant locus of politics. Within this transformed sovereignty and the setting of multi-level politics, nationality claims in the sub-state arena may be treated as a form of politics that can be accommodated within the existing boundaries, rather than as claims that necessarily lead to separation. Claims for self-determination and various forms of (limited) independence in the sub-state historic territories such as Catalonia, Flanders and Scotland have entered a new phase not witnessed in the last decades. Often out of the spotlight are cases of historic territories which just like their Western European counterparts are de-ethnicising and re-territorialising membership, but unlike them are explicitly refuting any claims to independence. They are also frequently using the imagery of the European Union as a legimitising factor. In the last two decades, the prominent examples are the sub-state regional polities of Istria in Croatia and Vojvodina in Serbia. These are the cases of what I call in my doctoral thesis and elsewhere (Stjepanović 2012) ‘plurinational’ and ‘multinational’ regionalisms rather than sub-state or stateless nationalisms. I will thus ask why political projects in Europe that are de-ethnicising their membership are manifested primarily as nationalisms that sometimes promote ‘total exit options’ (Bartolini 2005) in Western Europe and regionalisms that nearly always exclude independent statehood in Southeastern Europe, despite many underlying similarities.

Why in W Europe de-ethnicising manifests as total exit options while in E Europe as regionalisms that do not support statehood?

Debates on exit options:

1. Institutional design: decides whether politicians will muster support for independence

2. Regionalism precedes nationalism, e.g. Catalunya – regionalist project over time becomes state-seeking nationalist project

3. Autonomy is slippery slope to secession

  • cultural but especially territorial autonomy (since autonomy typically for ethnic groups rather than territorial)
  • especially when made by regional political parties
  • minority autonomy claim is on continuum from cultural to territorial to secessionist autonomy

> though DS argues that theory actually feeds into practice when picked up by politicians: self fulfilling prophecy

Regionalisms: takes as cases Vojvodina region of Slovenia and Istria region of Croatia

+ if EU citizenship, no longer any justification for claiming kin citizenship, because minorities already provided protection, e.g. N. Ireland

  • though I pointed out that Hungary, Romania already EU members when extended citizenship – he says that EU saw Hungary as problem but not Italy because more powerful though perhaps also because fewer (and M2 thinks EU sees in context of authoritarian direction of Hungarian government)
  • he disagrees w Bieber that dual citizenship as insurance policy combined w exit policy is a good thing, because typically makes state offload responsibilities – and same is true of EU citizenship

New regionalism – differs from traditional in that combining culture/identity, economic development, autonomy vs. bringing resources from centre to periphery

Can we talk about new regionalism in W Europe? Argues that not, e.g. of Scotland that Devo-Max is more extreme than claim for independence > originally Referendum was to include Devo Max but UK agreed only to independence


  • Historical development
  • Prominence of history of conflict over territories
  • Normative context influences territorial strategies


Jan-Michael Kotowski

  • to BM, compares to Turkish case
  • to DS, are these small entities not really so different to Catalonia and Scotland that comparison is meaningless?

ST agrees that devolution is more radical than independence – independence doesn’t affect state itself > we don’t want to leave but want you to rethink what you are, which more damaging to state; Barroso objects to nationalists for daring to think of entity beyond state

David Thunder to AU: how is kin-state citizenship not in conflict with liberal cosmopolitanism, respect for all humans, given that distinguishing along lines of ethnicity?

> AU kin minorities as opposed to diasporic minorities became so against their choice

> AU mainly looking at symbolic recognition rather than distribution, which unusual (though Germany gives substantial to Danish in Germany)

Matyas: what happening in Hungary raises large questions for us

  • Anti-liberal project which taken as achievement of current Prime Minister, picking anti-liberal elements of other EU constitutions, so others can’t object
  • Achieved by manipulating boundaries of political community: defined in terms of ethnic nationalism, filled up by substantive connotation of that ethnos, e.g. Christianity, creating stratified residential/non-residential citizenship, leaving minorities in limbo, and on that basis justifying authoritarian practices in state > state capable of protecting this identity in globalised world
  • Are political communities free in constructing normative identity? Or should be restrictions in international HR law?
  • Interplay between political community and institutions: state is institutional machinery through which identity that political community demands is protected > but here state becomes active agent setting terms for political community, justifying authoritarian practices in that respect
    • not unique and closest example is Turkey: clamping down on minorities etc. in order to shore up stat
    • in Hungary seemed developing away from this, and since then other countries have found attractive, even in EU

BM Hungary is not longer constitutional democracy in his opinion, since anti-egalitarian

MB explains that anti-liberal in that trumping individual rights with community interests, which is how Hungarian PM wanted to do it

? What does Hungarian case say about political community especially in relation to authority?

  • what is Hungarian is now political question, being non-Hungarian means having liberal or socialist views

Emilio: in what sense are values in Constitution pre-modern? For example, 19th century Italian Constitution is blood, and Hauerwas et al. argue that cultural belonging is main reference for political identity

Nigel: true that conflicts with Pogge-style cosmopolitanism but not Scheffler-type: all human beings have equal status must include concept of well-being to be substantial, which must in turn include identity etc. to be meaningful given how important to well-being

Andrea Teti: worried that too much focus on formal in discussions – asks again, what is question to which political community is answer? seems from discussion that: how do we ignore questions of substantive claims, e.g. in relation to inequality? In case of Hungary, where is agency of population as well as material conditions that allowed constitutional changes to take place?

Canglong: diversity being ignored in face of national fusion – can it respect citizenship of minorities? certainly debatable in context of China


  • to DS, explain why regional autonomy does more damage to state than secession
  • would citizenship more than state bring in concerns of fairness and justice? seems fairness and justice being placed outside in ambit of human rights, because if do that, citizenship will never address this

Margaret Somers: what are socio-economic horizontal divisions mapped onto vertical categories by which belonging is established? who are people making decisions in ruling parties? seems inequality being left out of discussion?

Tamas Gyorgi: seems that shift from old fashioned liberal democracy toward electoral democracy

Themes in Political Community: Relations of Duty

David Thunder “What Do Citizens Owe Their Communities? A Critique of Duty-Based Approaches to Justice and Responsibility”

Abstract: One of the hallmarks of modern theories of justice, from Hobbes and Locke to Rawls and Habermas, is that they tend to conceptualize a just social order less as the intentional, ongoing, and precarious achievement of just and virtuous individuals, and more as the outcome of a set of institutional and moral constraints upon people’s behavior and projects. Social order, on this view, is at bottom an elaborate game, and the task of the theorist is to determine which ground rules—whether moral or legal—can ensure (to the extent practicable) that economic and social interactions and outcomes are fair to all parties involved. This duty-based approach undoubtedly captures important truths about the practice of justice, in particular the coordinating role of institutions and the need for clarity about citizens’ public obligations. Nonetheless, as I shall argue in this paper, duty-based approaches tend to offer an excessively minimalist picture of a citizen’s responsibilities toward his or her community. This minimalist picture is greatly facilitated by the fact that proponents of the duty-based approach conceptualize the problem of justice as one of limiting individual freedom rather than unleashing its full potential. Once the problem of justice is set up in this way, an important fact about the practice of justice is effectively lost from view, namely that the creative and prudential exercise of freedom plays a vital role in the promotion and maintenance of justice, no less than the constraint of freedom by moral and institutional rules. In the first part of the paper, I make a case for the centrality of free personal initiatives to the practice of justice. In the second part, I argue that this observation compels us to reframe justice as a common project imposing open-ended responsibilities upon stakeholders, rather than merely a system of duties narrowly construed. The upshot of my argument is that once we see the vital role of free personal initiatives in discharging the collective burdens of justice in community, we are compelled to accept a broader and more demanding conception of the responsibilities of citizens than what what we typically find in standard liberal accounts.

Political community wins allegiance of members when shows that giving to each due, providing justice for all

Justice can be analysed as

  • Personal virtue
  • Property of community relations: internal justice of community – on this will focus

Political community bears collective responsibility for distributing justice among members

Intending to critique narrative that says false hope in state-centered narrative because disables community and disenfranchises citizenship from their responsibility for justice

Idealizing account of justice: Rawls defends liberal welfare state for basic liberties, using tax revenue for producing goods for decent life

  • justice society = well-ordered society
  • collective responsibility of justice in institutions, to which citizens must comply – Rawlsian virtues are about compliance with just institutions (hard-working, civil, get on well with fellow-citizens, etc.) > good citizen is compliant citizen – will do justice on our behalf provided we play our role as compliant citizens

Realist, non-ideal account of justice: building just social order against background of imperfectly working institutions

  • Relies on uncoordinated initiatives from citizens to counter-balance imperfections, e.g. Civil Rights in US which confronted resistant institutions [but surely this is civil society – although uncoordinated means unorganised? How about Church?]
  • Has a cost and these costs may be disproportionately borne by some – even in Venezuela leaders are being killed – and fruits enjoyed by others

> who is responsible citizen in non-ideal society? requires different sort of virtues: solidarity, courage, non-conformism, generosity, etc.

May be that civic leaders need to develop these more, but other citizens need them too

Camille Walsh “Duty and Community: Drawing the Lines of Exclusion in the 20th Century U.S.”

Abstract: How do the obligations of citizenship generate and limit our imagination of political community?  Drawing on the work of Turner, Kerber, Fineman and other scholars of citizenship and vulnerability, this paper traces the historical links between differences in the duties that particular groups have been permitted to engage in within the U.S. (gendered military service, racialized taxation, etc.) and the entitlements that those groups are then able to claim from the state – and perhaps from each other.  This paper will also take up the recent discussion of “polycentric constitutionalism” in U.S. legal scholarship to identify the different ways narratives and justifications of power are generated and framed through reference to robust participation in the duties of citizenship, and the different ways of imagining the multiplicity of communities and constitutive authorities through diffuse constitutional lenses.  Two core historical examples inform this study.  First, I look at the debate over the implementation of the G.I. Bill in the U.S. at the end of WWII, in which a limited and constricted, as well as gendered and raced, welfare state was permitted through claims to the special form of political community created by the uniqueness of military service (despite the technically higher civilian casualty rate in industrial work on the U.S. home front).  This provides a sharp contrast to the experience of many European nations after the war and the creation of broader welfare state protections and ultimately, inclusions.  Second, I examine the use of “taxpayer” rhetoric to systematically exclude people of color from the perceived political community in the 20th century U.S. and the way in which that rhetoric has grown around and intertwined with anti-immigrant fervor in recent decades.

Refers to The Wire: Omar says won’t raise gun to “citizen” and also says to “tax payer”

> even though all paying sales tax in corner store, strong symbolic association with citizenship

Turner: worker citizen, warrior citizen, reproductive citizen > can all make particular claims on state [those this not really way that work]

+ similarly Judith Sklar: if working is duty of citizen, allows eventually to claim right to work

+ consumer citizen: can make claims because bought X

Her book focuses on racialisation of tax payer rights to claim education: how language of tax payer has been used by parents to exclude others from receiving schooling benefits

e.g. new secessionism: Alabama etc. allowed to tax selves as

> historically there was distinction between white and black taxes, each going to different schools

Finds blacks making argument that since paying taxes are entitled to school that not being burned down

…while in second half of book, whites arguing that paying more taxes and thus entitled to better provision

> this has connotations of market relationship

In fact courts have consistently said that no case on grounds of tax-paying, not because progressive but because judicial efficiency – don’t know how much tax has paid, and also hard to determine e.g. whether includes sales taxes; but people are not aware of this and continue making claims to Congress etc.

Why no social welfare state? Moment when came close – FDR wanted GI Bill to apply across board, but veteran groups manage to exclude civilians, arguing that special nature of military service – though in fact in WWII highest casualty rate was on home front, in factories etc. where predominantly women and also many blacks excluded [but this is political claim – this is what should have been done] even though women largely excluded from military service

> language of duty and obligation used to exclude population on basis of race and gender

Adds that as homebuyers typically make claims, for example attempts to make home-owning criterion for voting on certain initiatives


Adam Fusco: are we arguing that democratic activity should be formal duty rather than activism with no institutional link? Otherwise hard to see how these virtues could come to be

> DT agrees would have to provide more detailed proposal; acknowledges that Rawls mentions need for citizens to promote just community but if took this seriously, might have led in different direction; initiatives themselves can’t be coordinated in advance but may response to institutional gap


  • For DT, is there responsibility for citizens to counteract unjust institutions, given costs?

> DT Game theoretic: unfair to expect citizens to undertake high costs for collective goods, but unsure about this

  • For CW, Could jury duty be a substitute criterion? Or should let go of entitlement criteria altogether?

> CW jury duty doesn’t have same aura of sacrifice of time and money as military service;  on grounds of cosmopolitanism, wants to have everyone have same entitlements regardless of criteria

Marek Szilvasi

  • To DT, how ensure that individuals become virtuous without institutions such as schooling?

> DT yes through schools and civic education should impart these virtues

  • To CW, notes that currently EU placing stress on labour market integration as source of entitlement

Margaret Somers

  • Judith Sklar’s main point is that all US citizenship is based on inclusionary identity which is only opposed to chattel slavery > not right to work but to earn; and she also points out that most US voters don’t > not being excluded is what gives identity – citizenship practice itself is irrelevant, what interests people is who is excluded from it
  • New Deal was white, both in that FDR gets support by withdrawing anti-lynching law as well as by targeting
  • Claims to social security is made in terms of earning it, as opposed to poor people who haven’t earned it; and over $106K not paying social security taxes


  • For CW, thinks that not now tax payer that instantiates citizenship in modern democracy but right to speak for and about others > by looking at language of obligation, we deny people opportunity to speak not just for selves but for others – blacks not derecognised because not tax payers but why not able to speak on behalf of whites >> how is political obligation linked to political participation?

> CW agrees and white supremacists are speaking as if they know intuitively what whites and blacks are paying, which doesn’t appear in black letter writers

  • For DT If alternative to institutions is human virtue, virtue tends to presuppose social equality: how expect poor to be heroic, women to make sacrifice, blacks to be selfless, etc.?

> DT not alternative but simply counter to intuition that institutions represent me therefore I have to do nothing; would be patronising not to expect these things of oppressed groups – gives example of autodefensas who stand up to mafias in controlled communities, exhibiting courage

Jan-Michael Kotowski: notes that US allowing more non-citizens in army, while military service in Dream Act can be pathway to citizenship

Mark Kruman:

  • tax-paying becomes means to claim full citizenship
  • on consumer citizenship, GW Bush after 9/11 asked how could be good citizens and he answered go shopping
  • for DT, observes that sounds like modern form of civic republicanism – volunteers coming in to do public service >these are more broadly conceptualised than citizen initiatives

> DT possibly version of civic republicanism yes, and finds that stop at level of volunteering and service, rather than challenging institutional structures

Themes in Political Community: Within and Beyond the State

Martijn Koster “New spaces of brokerage: active citizens and the informalization of political communities in the Netherlands”

Abstract:  While the state continues its retreat from welfare provision, it deliberately leaves spaces in the political domain to citizens and their local communities. In the Netherlands, the current government has coined the notion of the “participatory society” [participatiesamenleving], for which it needs a high level of voluntary citizen participation so as to guarantee a certain quality of welfare provision. Especially in underprivileged neighbourhoods, where many residents rely upon public welfare, people are summoned to participate in both policy-making and execution in domains that range from social housing to care for the elderly and from social work to health care. The participatory society has provided spaces to new and existing political brokers: active citizens who fill the gap between the retreating state and their fellow citizens. These brokers are, in the Dutch context, referred to as ‘active citizens’ or ‘best persons’. In this paper, I like to explore how these brokers become part of new governmental assemblages, in which public institutions, corporate actors and volunteering citizens “co-function”. A central question is what kind of political communities these assemblages produce and what authority they (may) gain. I will discuss how a particular community rationale gains more ground in policy-making and implementation when the state summons citizens to take a more active part in it. Political domains that used to be highly formalized, are now being infiltrated by a more informal community rationale. This community rationale centers upon local knowledge, personal connections and an exchange of favors. Political brokers co-direct decision-making regarding public services, while employing this community rationale. These brokers are in a privileged position. In specific, they may have the personal phone numbers of aldermen or housing corporation managers and, by contacting them, ‘bypass’ formal procedures while making the policy-making more “community-based”, more efficient and less costly. They are sought by organizational representatives (e.g. social workers, nurses, municipal officials, housing corporation employees) for information, advice and, where possible, for carrying out certain tasks. In this paper, I will explore some answers to the next pressing questions: What will be the impact of new spaces of brokerage and informal community rationality on welfare provision? What political communities are formed in these new governmental assemblages and what authority will they have? What will be the impact of (new) informalized political communities on conceptualizations of citizenship?

Shows poster of “best person” police officer who started project in Hague with volunteers on crime prevention, who says (in interview?) tension between what can do officially and what can do informally

MK’s project: How do residents experience political community in Utrecht? And changing with retreating state and new spaces for brokers?

> argues that leading to informalisation of political community

“Participatory society”: King said recently that shift from welfare state to participatory, in which people give value not just to own lives but to society as whole > looking for

  • Active citizens
  • Participation
  • Self organization

Brokers –

  • invited to share local knowledge and special expertise > in between government and residents of underprivileged neighbours, know how to speak both languages
  • but also know how to get things moving, so also known was “urban specialists”, some are voluntary but others are street-level professionals, and may also know how to bend the rules
  • government has been funding this phenomenon of “best persons”: also known as policy entrepreneurs, fixers, fitters (looking for right fit), etc. [in Mexico known as “lideres sociales”]
  • not connected to government though may be at later stage
  • asked to persuade residents to eat healthily etc.
  • government views in Durkheimian way – gap that needs to be filled to make society whole

In Brazilian context, much talk of informality by researchers but usually confined to South > his colleagues in School of Governance struggle to see informality in Netherlands

  • authority has face > person of mayor, while in Netherlands often don’t know name of mayor; but this may be changing in Netherlands with brokers


  • Informalisation of political community
  • Durkheimian view obscures differences and conflicts – just seen as gaps needing filled, though brokers also translate aspirations back to institutions, which can be valuable
  • Not sure whether multilayered political community, or distinct overlapping, entwined political communities

Katinka Weber “‘Political Communities’ without States? Exploring Processes of State Expansion in the Amazon”

Abstract: This paper suggests that we may shed further light on the notion of “political community” by considering it in the light of processes of state expansion. More specifically, this paper focuses on the experiences of Amazonian peoples who have escaped the influence of colonial or republican state-building projects, and who generally maintained less hierarchical forms of organisation. This is not to disregard that experiences of Amazonian peoples vary greatly, and many peoples had contact with traders, missionaries, or those seeking to extract natural resources, but nevertheless many Amazonian groups maintained more egalitarian authority structures and a ‘rhizomic model’ of self-other distinction which contrasts with the ‘Western’ ‘taproot model’ (hierarchical, or state-like) organisational forms (Rosengreen, 2003). However, the increased interaction with “state” actors (Abrams 1988; Fried 1967; Scott 1998) especially since mid-twentieth century has meant that many Amazonian peoples have adopted “taproot” organisational forms, reflected in the formation of their ethnic movements or governing bodies. Legal recognition of such organisations, as well as indigenous communities, has led to the formalisation of political authority and the expansion and multiplication of political communities. In this context, the emergence of political communities is closely linked to processes of state expansion or rather, the manipulation of spatial and social boundaries at different, and nested, scales (Rubenstein 2001).  In this context, the paper debates whether “political communities” which are roughly defined as “one whose members feel somehow represented within its structures of authority” and within which “authority is exercised in the name of some kind of community of members” can only exist in relation to “states”.

Key players in colonial world of nomadic egalitarian were Jesuits, Dominicans and others, who treats as state actors, promoting ethnogenesis > Chiquitano come to share identity as such, especially through mission system

> groups found themselves articulating community boundaries in variety of ways, including in relation to mestizo and white others, using language of citizenship and indigenous rights, for recognition of self determination

> Bolivia recognises legal personality of indigenous communities and organisations, as well as certain rights to land, even though alien to Amazonian concept of self and other

Even though subordinated in Constitution, she argues that political community in own rights [which is precisely what these people are arguing for]

…with “civil sociality” norms even though not enshrined in law

But also constitutes state as well as seeking autonomy for itself

> though political communities typically allowed to exist to extent that facilitate state functions and development programmes e.g. only limited recognition as long as indigenous citizens fit into governmental agenda > typically passing resource allocation to private individuals

Nevertheless still identify these organisations as getting things for them from state, representing them

We tend to talk of political communities as rigid whereas labour goes into creating them > leaders actively promote Chiquitano movement otherwise rumours that witchcraft or pocketing resources, thus more fragile and temporary than may sometimes appear


  • Nations may not be paramount political community (following Sian Lazar) and people may be part of multitude of overlapping political communities
  • Though also likeness to state, in furthering state project as well as more vertical structures

Rivke Jaffe “Between Ballots and Bullets: Electoral Politics and Political Community in and beyond the State”

Abstract: This paper approaches elections as a site for negotiations of political community both in and beyond the state. Beyond established political institutions such as political parties, other less formal structures of authority play an important role in mediating the relationship of citizens to the state. I focus on Jamaican “garrison politics”, a type of electoral turf politics that is achieved through communal clientelism and that has historically relied on brokers known as “dons”. These dons, area leaders who are often involved in criminal organizations, have longstanding connections to Jamaica’s two political parties. However, in recent decades they have become increasingly independent from politicians and have developed relationships with inner-city residents that are structured by notions of rights and responsibilities, and by forms of political participation. In the “garrison communities” where dons’ authority is strongest, voting behavior is affected by a mix of deeply felt party-political loyalty and the sometimes violent pressure exerted by dons and their organizations. Drawing on fieldwork in inner-city Kingston, I discuss how different forms of political community are enacted and performed through the act of voting and electoral politics more broadly. Rather than understanding inner-city residents as belonging to multiple, distinct political communities, I focus on the entanglement of allegiances to the don, the party and the nation-state. By focusing on the role of don-based structures of rule and belonging in mediating state-citizen relationships, I explore the entangled nature of contemporary political communities that function across different levels of scale (the nation-state, the neighborhood, and transnational criminal networks) and that draw on different registers of formality and legality.

Also looking at overlapping political communities

Observes in Jamaican elections, flouting electoral code of conduct, graffiti refers to parties and to gangs affiliated to them

> can we understand elections as affirming more than citizens’ relations to nation-state?

Citizenship can develop in and beyond nation-state:

  • garrison politics – communal clientelism where criminal leaders known as dons, who linked to political parties
  • political tribalism – deeply held allegiances to parties

Marshall et al. place voting at heart of political rights, but Lazar (collective bargaining – offers space for negotiating with state), Banerjee (voting not for ideology but neither just votes-for-goods instrumental clientelism > seen as dignified means of asserting belonging to modern nation) etc. describe elections as performances, which reflect reproduce and contest state-citizen elections

> not just centrality to political rights but important symbolic momen

How hybrid governance don’t just connect citizens to state but also negotiation of political community beyond state

After Independence, political parties start building housing schemes for followers, while dons are to deliver votes > garrison communities

From 1980s less public resources while dons become more independent because of transnational drug trade, thus now uneasy relationship more like colluding in government and maybe competing

> parties not ethnic, not class-based, though JOP did once associate with US capitalism and PNP with Cubans, getting guns to wage electoral warfare

One informant said better to be in battleground because parties then competing, while diehard neighbourhood is taken for granted > when she suggests saying might vote for others, they reply that impossible and would create division and repercussions – owe it to rest of community to not cause tension, while owing also to leaders

What can elections reveal beyond political rights? Finds that looking at community in and beyond the state > entangled governmental actors (she adds trade unions,

> “political collectives” implies horizontal within all-encompassing state, trhefore


Alena to KW: is state only other source of political organisation or also collectives etc.?

> KW agrees that others, too

MB to KW: wonders whether as well as engaging with state, indigenous communities are also aware of taking to international level e.g. ILO conventions, which railroad into development agenda of performing certain government functions (Decl of Rights of Ind Peoples mentions development 30 times) > logic of indigenous autonomy is that this is best way that developmental needs can be met

> KW yes though understands NGOs to begin with as governmental actors since perpetuating state agenda; also acknowledges importance of ILO etc.

(MK mentions that bureaucrats often disliked working with these “citizen leaders” because saw as unpredictable)


  • to MK: are brokers not just diffusing outright conflicts between communities and government? depoliticizing third sector?

> MK yes, harder to justify remaining outside government and government cannot justify leaving outside; also creates new politics in which, for example, rules get bent [how liberating is this?]

  • to KW: read book on Jesuit missions as vanguard of modern state in centralising power

> KW still maintain cabildo system though more complex than vanguard of modern state

  • to RJ: she made people look rather passive

> RJ they do draw on both political communities, even though not democratic and not nice, people brought into political community through extortion, which is caused “taxes”, people also saying that dons provide equal rights

Chuck: liked fact that juxtaposing Jamaica, Bolivia and Netherlands, and found what saying in Netherlands is

  • for RJ, is it that these other places don’t do democracy well, or that also goes on in W Europe and US?

> RJ not specific, gives example of mining enclaves that are also corporations in own right, etc. and in US politicians going to churches to get donations

> KW democracy wasn’t working well for Chiquitano peoples

Shura for MK: do these include non-citizens?

> MK not really – finds Chatterjee’s political community hard to apply to Netherlands because most do have access to range of services as citizens (and for this reason also feels that multilayered political community rather than multiple political communities)

Andreea Undrea: For MK, is brokerage not job of MPs or local councillors?

Andrea Teti

  • for MK: when combine increasing cuts and taxation, tend to get decrease obligations > would be surprising if doesn’t make for patronage, thus challenging government based on rule of law >> step toward undermining welfare and outsourcing welfare provision is what put Muslim Brotherhood in position of power

> MK says that may be possible to combine rule of law with friendship; and patronage is everywhere (though AT – that is mafia)

  • for JR, agrees that nothing new in combination of state and private power


  • for MK, surprised that referred to as participatory, since surely participation is about deliberation etc. and not this kind of brokerage

> MK participatory in ideal sense, as King puts it, should have collective dimension

  • for KW, surely inner compulsion toward association with land thus want to control who has access to this land (i.e. not just about state etc.)

> KW yes though in process getting shaped

  • for RJ, what if group loses, are there penalties imposed? In India understood that much of show on streets is for hire

> RJ yes this might happen if lose elections

Ajay: For MK, this is classic case of “political society” > brokerage, even though Chatterjee argues that his model does not work in W Europe and US because lack communitarian traditions – so how to explain?

David Thunder:

  • For RJ dependency or clientelism in all contexts
  • For KW could they do fine without being incorporated into state?
  • For MK how are citizen initiatives funded?

> MK can apply for funding to municipality

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