Three related concepts are addressed here: rights, obligations and
citizenship. We first consider the development of the concept of
‘rights’ as being intrinsic to human beings because they are
human . Different interpretations of the term ‘rights’
are discussed together with some of the controversies which surround the
issue at the present. Next we analyse the idea of
the term ‘Third Way’ by several years. At the heart of
New Labour’s Third Way is the claim that economic efficiency
and social justice can be symbiotic. I argue that the articulation
of a particular concept of citizenship is a crucial element of the
framework that New Labour believes is necessary in order to achieve
this. This argument is supported by evidence drawn from a discursive
In liberal democracies there is a belief that citizens ought to take an active interest in what is happening in the political world. Political debate in modern Western democracies is a complex and often rowdy affair. There are three fundamental political issues: 'politics', 'power' and 'justice', which feature in almost all political discussions and conflicts. The book assesses the degree to which the state and state sovereignty are disappearing in the modern world of 'globalised' politics, economics and culture and new international institutions. The main features of the nation and the problems of defining it are outlined: population, culture, history, language, religion, and race. Different types of democracy and their most important features are discussed. 'Freedom' is usually claimed to be the prime objective of political activity. The book discusses equality of human rights, distributional equality, equality before the law, the claims for group equality on the grounds of race, gender, class. Rights, obligations and citizenship are closely associated. Ideology is the driving force of political discourse. The book also discusses nationalism's growth and development over the last two centuries with particular reference to its main features and assumptions. It outlines the development of conservatism as a political ideology and movement in Britain during the last two centuries. An overview of liberalism, socialism, Marxism, anarchism, and Fascism follows. Environmentalism and feminism are also discussed. Finally, the book talks about how ideological change occurs and stresses the importance of rationality in politics.
All political argument employs political concepts. They provide the building blocks needed to construct a case for or against a given political position. Justifications of oppression in the name of liberty are no mere products of the liberal imagination, for there are notorious historical examples of their endorsement by authoritarian political leaders. This book explores two approaches to rights: the interest-based (IB) approach, and the obligation-based or Kantian view. Both are shown to offer coherent justifications that can avoid turning all political concerns into a matter of rights. The concept of social justice emerged in both at the start of the twentieth century, and justified institutions for the democratic modification for market outcomes, on utilitarian, maximin or common good grounds. The book explores whether people do in fact have good and justifiable reasons for complying with laws that go beyond mere fear of punishment, and, if so, whether they are bound or obligated by those reasons to comply. It discusses national ties and how they are supposed to act as glue that holds the state together in the eyes of its citizens. The book also explores the link between the weakening of states and this change in criminal policies, and outlines their implications for individual rights. Theorists have used the idea of social exclusion to advocate an approach to social justice that sees increased labour-market participation as the key to equal to citizenship. The contemporary understandings of the public-private distinction and feminist critiques of these are also examined.
decorative but a permanent feature of our public social world.
In this chapter I want to explore what it means to move
multiculturalism from the outskirts to the centre of our political thinking.
Section 1 surveys the range of multicultural rights, while section 2
examines an important recent attempt to theorise them, Will Kymlicka’s
Multicultural Citizenship . 4 Section 3 explores attempts to go beyong Kymlicka’s
Democracy as a system of government. Here we can discern two forms of
democracy: ‘defensive democracy’ and ‘citizen
democracy’/‘republican democracy’; democracy and
legitimising government; majority rule and democracy; equality of citizenship rights; public opinion in democracies; the rule of law and democracy.
Democracy as a system of government
Ancient Greeks, such as Aristotle in
In the late 1990s Third Way governments were in power across Europe - and beyond, in the USA and Brazil, for instance. The Third Way experiment was one that attracted attention worldwide. The changes made by Left parties in Scandinavia, Holland, France or Italy since the late 1980s are as much part of Third Way politics as those developed in Anglo-Saxon countries. Since the early 1990s welfare reform has been at the heart of the Centre-Left's search for a new political middle way between post-war social democracy and Thatcherite Conservatism. For Tony Blair, welfare reform was key to establishing his New Labour credentials - just as it was for Bill Clinton and the New Democrats in the USA. Equality has been 'the polestar of the Left', and the redefinition of this concept by Giddens and New Labour marks a significant departure from post-war social democratic goals. The most useful way of approaching the problem of the Blair Government's 'Third Way' is to apply the term to its 'operational code': the precepts, assumptions and ideas that actually inform policy choice. The choice would be the strategy of public-private partnership (PPP) or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), as applied to health policy. New Labour is deeply influenced by the thoughts and sentiments of Amitai Etzioni and the new communitarian movement. Repoliticisation is what stands out from all the contributions of reconstructing the Third Way along more progressive lines.
to ‘all the values that lie at the
heart of socialism: citizenship, social justice, democracy, the
desire for progress and the will to control this progress and our
collective destiny’. Further on he claimed that our ideals
remained essentially the same: justice, liberty, the collective
mastery of our destiny, the development of the individual without
such as ‘stakeholding’ and ‘the Third Way’
may be transient, a core modernising version of citizenship has been
remarkably consistent since the early 1990s. Consequently, the Third
Way theory offered by Giddens, like that of stakeholding before it,
has been appropriated by New Labour and other Centre-Left actors
only selectively, where it is of use in developing this enduring
countries, including those with such entrenched social protection systems as
Denmark and the Netherlands. 26 Theorists in turn have used the idea of social exclusion
to advocate an approach to social justice that sees increased labour-market
participation as the key to equal citizenship, in the face of mass long-term
unemployment, and the emergence of a significant ‘underclass’ of
‘welfare dependents’. 27 As Anthony Giddens puts it: ‘the new politics