Is the Citizenry the State?
Holly Lawford-Smith (University of Melbourne)

August 23, 2017, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Philosophy program, La Trobe University

GS-212 (George Singer Building, Level 2, Room GS-212)
George Singer Building La Trobe University Plenty Road & Kingsbury Drive
Melbourne 3086
Australia

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Abstract:

When a liberal democratic state wages a war, signs a treaty, or bans travellers, does its enfranchised citizenry do those things? One way into this is to ask whether a liberal democratic state is identical to its citizenry, where the citizenry is understood as a structure that is instantiated by all (and only) those who are eligible to register to vote (within not-disproportionate cost to themselves) and who enjoy other basic civil/political liberties within that state's territory. This paper is co-authored; one of us thinks the answer is 'yes' and the other thinks the answer is 'no.' Our aim in the paper is to articulate the considerations on both sides and leave it to the reader to decide how they weigh up. To that end, we work through four considerations: group-level control (including the particularity, scope, directness, and robustness of that control), group-level unity, individual-level influence, and individual-level voluntariness.

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