The Roles of Participation and Recognition in Forming a Conception of Citizenship
I shall argue here that an ideal theory of citizenship contains a great deal of citizen participation and, contrary to the liberal view, takes public political deliberation and action as a significant aspect of individuals’ lives. I shall propose that neither Arendt’s “agonistic” conception of citizenship, nor Rawls’s “legalistic” position, can offer a satisfactory account of citizenship in a pluralist society. Instead, we need to combine aspects of each of these views: an agonistic conception that is manifested in citizens’ participation in the public space and grounds the relationships between citizens on negotiation and conflict rather than agreement; and a constitutionalist conception, manifested in citizens’ demands for recognition of their plurality. Such a conception of citizenship relies on forms of participation to guarantee the inclusion and recognition of marginalised individuals and groups. I shall then explore the dialectic of participation and recognition and conclude that this dialectic does not presuppose a group-based citizenship rights theory, and is better realised without it.