Citizenship in Liberal Democracy: Overcoming Barriers to Inclusion

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This paper will argue that theories of contemporary liberal democratic citizenship, whilst purporting to be inclusive, continue to prioritise certain voices over others, leading to the continuing existence of deep and troubling injustice amongst democratic citizens. It is therefore proposed that in order to ensure a fairer approach to inclusion within democratic citizenship, it is necessary to first recognise that democracy embodies a prior commitment at both the individual and institutional level, to study the picture within which contemporary politics takes place. This will help us to revise and rearticulate this sphere constantly in the hope of working towards a more just and inclusive democratic society. The paper will question whether the potential for this is limited by the current liberal manifestation of democratic citizenship. It will therefore conclude that for democratic citizenship to be inclusive, whilst also working towards the elimination of injustice, it will be necessary to uncouple contemporary democratic practice from the dominant liberal tradition, in favour of a more radical, revisable and therefore responsive, democratic model.


Keywords: Citizenship, Inclusion, Democracy, Voice, Identity, Culture, Truth and Perspective
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Ms Clare Woodford

PhD Candidate, Department of Politics and International Relations
School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton

Southampton, Hampshire, UK

I am currently a doctoral student in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Southampton, UK. Prior to this I completed a Masters in Citizenship and Governance, also at Southampton. At present my research focuses on how to overcome the continuing problem of injustice within liberal democracy. My research background crosses between political science and political philosophy, yet my current work takes a theoretical approach since I believe that we need to re-examine existing theory on tackling injustice in democracy, to see if we can uncover why this is not being successfully translated into the practical spheres. My current interests include contemporary democratic theory; citizenship theory; theories of justice; identity politics and the politics of voice; the philosophy of language and communicative discourse; and the history of political thought. Previous work has explored varying conceptions of the identity of the democratic citizen; and the interplay of knowledge, power and speech in ancient democracy.

Ref: I08P0700