Detalle Publicación


Overcoming the myth of the sovereign, self-governing people

Libro: Engaging authority: citizenship and political community
Lugar de Edición: London
Editorial: Rowmann & Littlefield
Fecha de publicación: 2021
Página Inicial - Final: 125 - 146
ISBN: 9781538159101
Resumen: The thesis I wish to defend here, albeit in a preliminary manner, is threefold. First, I argue that if we go along with the myth of popular sovereignty and accept that the governmental functions of a political community are comprehensive or nearly comprehensive in their scope and are exercised by one agency on behalf of the whole people, then the ideal of popular self-government does as much to obscure as illuminate our understanding of governance processes in the real world. Second, I contend that the myth of the sovereign, self-governing people, besides constituting a misleading representation of social and political reality, has highly undesirable practical consequences as a political ideology; in particular, it suppresses or inhibits many forms of associative freedom that do not fit within the boundaries of the sovereigntist narrative. Third, I suggest that if we are willing to rethink self-government in a polycentric, consociational manner, and conceptualize the national community as united by a shared commitment to basic norms of civility and justice rather than by submission to a putatively `sovereign¿ government or state, then we can recover a more empirically workable and normatively attractive concept of the self-governing people.