Citizen solidarity in diverse societies: a case for deliberative democracy

De Wet, Nico Els (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: This thesis seeks to answer the Question: What is the most appropriate basis for solidarity among citizens of diverse societies? Members of such societies do not only have different belief systems and different individual and collective commitments, but may also command different resources and occupy different positions in the social world. What, then, are the necessary conditions for citizens such as these to care for each other and act together in order to solve collective problems? The answer to this question is developed in four steps. I begin by establishing the most appropriate conception of personhood for the project of citizen solidarity. After examining and rejecting both comprehensive liberal and communitarian conceptions of personhood, I defend a political conception of personhood which distinguishes between our public and private identities, and which could form a basis of citizen solidarity regardless of our private conceptions of Personhood. In light of this political conception of personhood, I go on to argue that any notion of a common national identity, whether “thick” or “thin”, fail to provide a basis for solidarity precisely because it comes at an unreasonable cost to individual citizens’ autonomy. Next, I turn to equal rights as a possible basis for solidarity. Here I show that, while equal rights are an important condition for citizen solidarity in so far as they promote and protect the equal dignity necessary for citizens to trust and cooperate with one another, formal equal rights are not sufficient for addressing power imbalances between different social groups. In the fourth and final step, I demonstrate that political participation in the form of deliberative democracy can provide a basis for solidarity in diverse societies in so far as it is inclusive of diversity, purposefully orientates citizens to mutual understanding and viable even in expansive political communities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis beoog om die volgende vraag te beantwoord: Wat is die mees geskikte grondslag vir solidariteit onder burgers in diverse Samelewings? Lede van sulke samelewings het nie net verskillende oortuigingskemas en verskillende individuele en kollektiewe verbintenisse nie, maar beskik ook oor verskillende hulpbronne en posisies in die sosiale wêreld. Derhalwe, wat is die nodige voorwaardes vir burgers soos dié om vir mekaar om te gee en saam te werk om gesamentlike uitdagings aan te pak? Die antwoord op hierdie vraag word ontwikkel in vier stappe. Ek begin deur die mees geskikte begrip van die persoon vir die projek van burgerlike solidariteit te vestig. Nadat ek beide die omvattend-liberale en kommunitêre opvattings van die persoon ondersoek en afgekeur het, verdedig ek ‘n politieke begrip van die persoon wat tussen ons openbare en private identiteite onderskeid tref, en wat as ‘n grondslag vir burgerlike solidariteit kan dien ongeag ons private opvattings van menswees. In die lig van hierdie politieke begrip van menswees, voer ek aan dat enige konsep van ‘n gemene nasionale identiteit, hetsy “dik” of “dun”, nie daarin slaag om ‘n grondslag vir solidariteit te bied nie, juis omdat dit onredelike eise aan die individuele burger se outonomie stel. Daarna kyk ek na gelyke regte as ‘n moontlike grondslag vir solidariteit. Hier dui ek aan dat, alhoewel gelyke regte ‘n belangrike voorwaarde vir bugerlike solidariteit stel deur gelykwaardigheid - wat nodig is vir burgers om mekaar te vertrou en saam te werk - te beskerm, is formele gelyke regte nie genoeg om ongelyke magsverhoudinge tussen verskillende groepe aan te spreek nie. In die vierde en finale stap, demonstreer ek dat politieke deelname in die vorm van deliberatiewe demokrasie die grondslag vir solidariteit in diverse samelewings kan voorsien in soverre dit inklusief is van diversiteit, wedersydse begrip onder burgers aanwakker en ook prakties haalbaar is in uitgebreide politieke gemeenskappe.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103443
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