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Models of Citizenship and Democracy

2.1 Background - Civic Republican and Liberal Traditions


2.2 Direct and Participatory Democracy
2.3 Representative Democracy and Liberal Constitutionalism
2.4 The Origins of Citizenship
2.5 The Liberal Concept of Citizenship
2.6 Civic Republicanism Today?
The purpose of this week's work is to examine the historical background which influences how we think
about citizenship and democracy. This week sets the wider context for the ideas, institutions and
practices which you will be studying in future weeks in an Australian setting. The legal meaning of
citizenship is defined by the laws of a particular country. For example, only Australian citizens can vote
and hold an Australian passport. The law or custom also defines citizen rights, as for example with the
right to lobby your Member of Parliament (MP), and citizen duties such as the duty to pay taxes or serve
on a jury. But the meaning of citizenship is also based on moral and political beliefs about what makes a
'good citizen', for example showing respect for other members of our society and taking on
responsibilities which are not legally required. These beliefs are drawn partly from our own culture, for
example, the Australian belief in 'mateship'. But they also arise out of a much longer European or
Western history of ideas and experience. We shall consider below two of these major political traditions,
that of civic republicanism and liberalism, as well as the institutions with which they are associated.

1.Background - Civic Republican and Liberal Traditions


One set of ideas and values defining the 'good citizen' has its origins in classical Greece in the period
500300 BC. This is often called the civic republican tradition, which is also linked to an ideal of direct
democracy in which all citizens take part in political decisions. There is a second set of ideas and values,
which draws on ideas in Roman law developed in the Roman Empire from the 1st century AD, but was
fully formulated in the 17th century in Europe. This is the liberal tradition, which is linked to the ideal of
parliamentary democracy, in which citizens elect a representative to look after their interests. You should
understand at the end of this week some of the key ideas of civic republicanism and of liberalism. Both
civic republicanism and liberalism have influenced the development of Australian beliefs about
democracy and what it has meant to be an Australian citizen. Earlier political and cultural ties to Great
Britain, however, have meant, that liberalism has been more influential in shaping ideas about citizenship
and political institutions. You will be able to trace the influence of both liberalism and republicanism in
later weeks. This will occur, for example, in the debates about whether citizens have a duty to fight for
their country in wartime (see Study Week 9).
The initial meaning we often give to republicanism is rule by the people as opposed to rule by a
monarch, whether this is a king or queen. In Australia, at the moment, republicanism means primarily
that the British crown should cease to be even the nominal head of state. But civic republicanism means
much more than rejecting monarchy, and demands that citizens put their country above their personal
interests. We will examine the historical roots of civic republicanism in the city states of classical Greece
and in republican Rome from approx 40050 BC, its revival in Renaissance Italy and its evolution in
18th century Europe. The French Revolution of 1789 proclaimed republican ideals, although the famous
1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen includes rights which can also be seen as liberal. You
will be asked to read the Declaration as part of your work for this week.
The liberal view of citizenship stresses individual rights within a framework of the rule of law. The best
form of government in liberal eyes has therefore been one in which individual rights are safeguarded by
constitutional limits on government power. One well known way of restraining government is to ensure
that there is a division of power between the executive (often the Prime Minister and other minsters of
the government) and the legislature, or parliament which makes the laws. We will examine the evolution
of liberalism within the modern state since the 17th century in England and its major political expression
in the constitution of the United States which emerged at the end of the 18th century after the war of
American Independence. Some writers have identified certain republican elements in the American

Revolution (see e.g. Paul Rahe, 1992. Republicanism Ancient and Modern). But the dominant influence
and lasting legacy is that of liberalism.
Throughout the West, full citizenship, which meant not only civil rights under the law but the right to vote
in elections and stand for parliament, was originally limited to a privileged minority of the population:
adult (white) males who were owners of property. Demand for the vote has been an important symbol of
equal status for working men, and for women, and provided a means for asserting their interests. But
extending citizenship to new groups has also been associated with claims for new kinds of rights, such as
social and economic rights to create greater equality for the poor. One of the best known discussions of
citizenship by T.H. Marshall (1950) defines it in terms of three distinct kinds of rights: civic rights giving
individuals equal protection of their freedoms (e.g. of speech and association) under the law; political
rights to vote and to be elected to office; and socio-economic rights, for example, for all to enjoy a good
education and have access to welfare benefits. This week, however, focuses primarily upon the history
and rationale for the first two kinds of citizens' rights. Socio-economic rights and criticisms of them will be
considered in Study Week 7.
In order to understand better the two models of republican and liberal citizenship it is helpful to know
more about the political contexts within which both have been developed: participatory democracy and
representative democracy. We will therefore first examine these two opposing forms of democracy,
before comparing historical models of republican and liberal citizenship. We will also note feminist
criticisms of both. Finally, we will consider briefly the arguments for reviving civic republicanism today,
arguments which in Australia have recently been linked to proposals for an Australian Republic.

2.Direct and Participatory Democracy


In the West, democracy has its origins in the classical Greek city states. The best known example is
Athens in the period 461322 BC. Democracy meant that all adult males born to Athenian parents had a
right to take part in the public assembly, where policy was voted upon. In addition they were eligible to
serve for a year on the key administrative bodies of Athens. Citizens were also called on to participate in
jury service. Anthony Arblaster has provided a clear account of the 'invention' of democracy in Athens.
STUDY EXERCISE 2.1
Read:A. Arblaster, 1987. Democracy, Milton Keynes: Open University Press, pp. 13
22.
Answer the following questions:
1.What were the two meanings inherent in the Greek word 'democracy'? Answer
2.Why has democracy been associated with class struggle? Answer
3.What were the implications of selecting people to most offices by 'lot' (i.e. by picking
their names out by chance)? Answer
4.What criticisms of the Athenian model of democracy were made by Plato, Aristotle
and other opponents of democracy at the time? Answer
For a positive case for Athenian democracy the most famous text is Pericles' oration delivered at the
funeral of soldiers who fell in the war with Sparta.
Our constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority
but of the whole people. When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is
equal before the law; when it is a question of putting one person before another in
positions of public responsibility, what counts is not membership of a particular class,
but the actual ability which the man possesses. No one, so long as he has it in him to
be of service to the state is kept in political obscurity because of poverty. And just as
our political life is free and open, so is our day-to-day life in our relations with each
other... .
Pericles' Funeral Oration. In Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, p. 117.
There are two wider questions of interest, which are not as easily answered as those just listed above,
and which concern the relevance and practicality of direct democracy in modern societies.
What sorts of conditions made this radical form of direct democracy possible in Greece
(especially Athens)?
How relevant today is the model of direct democracy in a small city state within a very different
social context?

In the final pages of Arblaster you will find some observations on these questions.
Read:A. Arblaster, 1987. Democracy, pp. 235.
If you want to think more about how different forms of direct democracy could be recreated in the world
today, see John Burnheim (1985) Is Democracy Possible? A few of these issues are raised further by
Brian Martin (1990) in Study Week 6.
The Greeks understood by democracy the direct participation by all citizens in making public policy. This
was what was meant by democracy up to the 18th century. It is the model which influenced Jean-Jacques
Rousseau in his Social Contract in which he envisages all citizens making laws for the collective good
(though he does not envisage a democratic executive). The civic republican ideal of democracy has
never been fully adapted to the realities of the nation state. Where the ideal has been maintained it has
sometimes meant promoting participatory (or 'direct') democracy at the local level - as in the cantons
(local government units) of Switzerland. Another approach is to enable citizens to initiate and vote in
popular referenda in which a particular policy question is decided by the people's vote. There are quite
frequent referenda in Switzerland on a wide range of issues including defence policy. Civic republicanism
also rejects the idea that individual voters should leave it to parliamentary representatives to make key
decisions for them, Rousseau commented that in the English parliamentary system the people were free
once in every five years, at election time. Civic republicanism stresses instead that those elected should
act as delegates of the people and should be directly answerable to them. During the French Revolution
people met frequently in the communes (districts) of Paris to debate policy which they then pressed upon
the National Assembly.
The model of participatory democracy has sometimes been reinterpreted within the context of the nation
state to suggest that government should embody the popular will. This was the interpretation developed
by radical leaders in the French Revolution, who claimed to speak for the popular will and that acting in
accordance with what the people really wanted justified overriding the elected assembly and pursuit of
terror to achieve revolutionary aims. (J.L. Talmon, 1952. The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy provides
a well known criticism of the nature and evolution of the Rousseauist model of democracy.) Liberals have
therefore viewed appeals to 'the will of the people' with alarm partly because of what happened in the
French Revolution where governments claiming to act on behalf of the popular will were seen as
threatening individual liberties.

3.Representative Democracy and Liberal Constitutionalism


Those arguing for representative democracy at the end of the 18th century still had the Greek idea of
direct democracy (rather than its reinterpretation as the French Revolution) in mind. They rejected the
Greek version not only for its impracticality in a large state, but for its perceived dangers. They argued
that people may be divided into conflicting factions based on unequal distribution of property or
ideological factors, and that the majority group will be tempted to attack the property and individual
security of the minority. The writers who recommended the American Constitution (adopted in 1788) to
the American people distinguished between 'democracy' and their proposed system of representative
government. James Madison (1992 [1787]: 126), one of the three contributors to The Federalist Papers,
made the distinction as follows:
A pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble
and administer the government in person, can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction ... . A republic
[Madison's term for representative democracy], by which I mean a government in which the scheme of
representation takes place opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.
In a representative system the people hand over responsibility for governing to a small elected group or
elite, and it can operate in a large territory with numerous citizens. Indeed, Madison suggests that the
larger the number of citizens the more diverse their interests, and the less likely it will be that they want
to oppress minorities or will be able to organise themselves to do so. Madison's views are set out in the
most famous of the Federalist Papers, Paper No 10.
Read:J. Madison , 1787. On factions. Federalist Papers, Paper No 10. In D. Ravitch
and A. Thernstrom eds. 1992. The Democracy Reader. New York: Harper Collins, pp.
1247.
The framers of the American Constitution were strongly influenced by the writings of the 17th century
English liberal philosopher John Locke, and the 18th century French writer Montesquieu who celebrated
the balance of powers he saw in the English constitution at that time. Locke's Second Treatise of Civil

Government was published just after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, which in its Bill of
Rights clarified the respective powers of King and Parliament and established a division of powers
between the executive and parliament. Locke's aim was to promote a government which would respect
individuals' 'natural rights' (which we would now describe as human rights) of life, liberty and property. A
government which did so and governed in the people's interests could claim to rest on the people's
consent; if a government acted tyrannically the people had the right to rebel. A division of powers
between the legislature and executive was one method of preventing tyrannical measures. (It was
Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws who stressed the third element, an independent judiciary.)
Locke assumed the existence of a parliament, which in his time was elected by a property-owning
minority. Because taxation involved government demands on individual property, taxes must have
parliamentary approval. The cry 'No taxation without representation' was taken up by the American rebels
who started the American War of Independence from Britain in the late 18th century.
It was this liberal, constitutional and parliamentary framework which the designers of the American
federal constitution had in mind, though they intended to remedy the evils which they thought had
corrupted the British system since 1688. Nonetheless, those political leaders and writers who supported
the Constitution were not democrats. Not only did they reject the Greek model, they also generally
opposed all adult men having the vote (which was accepted in the French Revolution), believing that
men of property would be more responsible voters. The white colonists in America at that time did not
think of native Americans as being part of the same society and did not consider that African slaves on
the southern plantations could claim basic civic or legal, human rights, let alone political rights.
Friedrich Hayek, one of the best known 20th century writers on liberal constitutionalism and a free
market, has explained a number of these issues. This is a more difficult reading than Arblaster, but
contains important arguments which should become clearer when you think about the questions and later
check the answers provided. The reading also explains ideas such as 'federalism' and 'judicial review'
that will be referred to in later weeks.
STUDY EXERCISE 2.2
Read:F.A. Hayek, 1960. The Constitution of Liberty. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul,
pp. 17688.
Answer the following questions:
1.What do you think is meant by 'arbitrary power'?(p.178) Answer
2.(a) What was the main danger the Americans saw in British political practice;
and
(b) How did they try to prevent it in the new USA? (see pp. 1768) Answer
3. What did the Americans understand was involved in a constitution? (p. 178) Answer
4. How does Hayek respond to the claim that a constitution is 'undemocratic'? (pp. 180
2) Answer
5. What are the arguments (a) against and ( b) for a Bill of Rights? (pp. 1856)
Answer
During the 19th and 20th centuries representative democracy has come to represent a wider range of
people as the vote was extended. But the fundamental liberal principles of representative democracy
have not altered. These principles are that minority and individual rights should be safeguarded, that
freedom of speech, publication and association are essential to politics and that there should be
constitutional restraints to prevent abuse of government power, including regular elections. It is essential
that elections should be free and fairly run, so that people have a choice and that governments should be
ultimately accountable to the public. But in representative democracy members of the legislature tend to
see themselves as independent representatives, not delegates reflecting the will of their electors. A
famous case for representation rather than delegation was made by the liberal-conservative Edmund
Burke in 1774, in a speech to the electors of Bristol.
Read:E. Burke, 1774. Speech to the electors of Bristol. In D. Ravitch and A.
Thernstrom eds. 1992. The Democracy Reader. New York: Harper Collins, pp. 5051.
Because liberalism stresses individual rights, and because representative democracy tends to
discourage direct popular influence on governmental decisions, liberals think of citizenship primarily in
legal and administrative terms. That is, liberals concentrate on what legal rights citizens have and what
can they expect from their government, rather than on citizenship as an active political role. This view is
very different from the civic republican emphasis on political participation and duty.

4.The Origins of Citizenship


The original understanding of citizenship derives from the civic republican tradition and the political
experience of the Greek city states, in particular democratic Athens. Citizenship meant participating in a
direct democracy.
Read:Arblaster, 1987. Democracy, pp. 223.
It is interesting to see how Aristotle in The Politics, lecturing to his students in the 4th century BC, is
drawn to this participatory definition of citizenship. Aristotle (1962: 103) points out that the definition of
citizenship depends on the type of constitution, but 'our definition of citizen is best applied in a
democracy'.
Read:Aristotle, The Politics, pp. 1014.
You will be aware from Arblaster that major groups in the population of Athens were excluded
automatically from citizenship: namely resident aliens not of Athenian descent, women and slaves. One
reason why women were excluded was that they were deemed unable to carry out one of the major
duties of citizenship, to fight for their city.
The civic republican model of citizenship has also drawn on Republican Rome in the period after 510 BC
when Rome expelled its king, and in particular, after the people had gained significant political power in a
series of constitutional changes, from about 400 BC. Nonetheless, Rome was never a direct democracy.
Until the end of the republican period in 55 BC the aristocracy (or 'patricians') represented in the Senate
had special political powers, although the highest political offices gradually became open to the common
people. The people (or 'plebeians') had their own political assemblies and elected officials ('tribunes') to
protect their customary liberty, and they enjoyed the political rights of citizenship. Women and slaves
were excluded from citizenship, as in Greece, but the Romans were willing to extend the status of
Roman citizenship to foreigners. The willingness to fight for Rome, and the qualities of the good soldier,
were central to the ideal of Roman citizenship.
It is the Roman rather than the Athenian model which influenced the later republican tradition. When in
Renaissance Italy Machiavelli in The Discourses contrasted rule by an individual prince with republican
rule, he drew on the lessons from Rome. Machiavelli lamented the decline of republics in the Italian city
states and contrasted the attitudes of the Italian people unfavourably with the civic virtue of the Romans.
Rousseau, in his 1750 'Discourse on the Arts and Sciences', condemned French intellectuals and Paris
society for frivolity and lack of citizenship, and looked back to the Roman Republic, with its sense of
public duty, the courage of its citizen-soldiers and their patriotism.
In the French Revolution political leaders consciously drew on the ideas and even the dress of the
Roman Republic, although the poor aspired to a more radical social and political equality than existed in
Rome. The revolution symbolised the overthrow of the monarchy and aristocratic society by making
'citoyen' (citizen) a form of normal address. The French Revolution also made military service a central
duty of citizenship, as illustrated by the revolutionary national anthem the Marseillaise. This association
between citizenship and military service lasted in France until the 1990s. Working men claimed the rights
of full citizenship as members of the French nation and the Revolution symbolised a new democratic
spirit in Europe.
Civic republicans see a degree of economic equality (or at least the absence of glaring inequalities of
wealth and poverty) as an important condition for genuine equality of citizenship and for enabling citizens
to focus on the public good rather than class interests. Rousseau placed particular importance on this
requirement. He had in mind a society of peasants and artisans as an ideal context. The republican ideal
is harder to realise in a competitive market economy or in industrialised society.
Advocates of republicanism have also generally associated citizenship with ownership of property. There
are several reasons for this linkage. In earlier times, property made it possible to acquire a broad
education and to have the leisure to study and take part in politics. Democratic Athens rejected property
qualifications for citizenship, but in the views of many critics it was the role of the uneducated poor with
no time to take part in politics unless they were paid to do so which undermined Athenian democracy.
Republicans like Roussueau also believed that property ownership provides the individual with economic
resources for individual independence. Those who depend upon the will of others for their livelihood are
not their own masters and cannot in this view be truly self governing and equal citizens. But in the
French Revolution those without property did claim the right to be full citizens. See the range of rights
claimed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789) which was the preamble to the draft
constitution of France.
Read:Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789.

These universal rights were thought to be held only by men. The civic republican tradition up to the end
of eighteenth century deliberately excluded women. Republicans saw citizens as men with specifically
masculine virtues. Women's role was to stay at home and be good wives and mothers. Rousseau in
particular feared feminine influence in social and political life would destroy manly republican codes of
behaviour. Women were, however, prominent in the popular agitation which marked stages of the
Revolution, and women at first had their own political clubs until the radicals (who distrusted feminist
ideas) banned them in 1793. Although a few prominent men did support women's rights, there was no
debate in the Constitutional Assembly about women being left out of the new French Constitution
(Kingdom 1990). Women at that time lacked economic independence, and were legally and personally
dependent upon their husbands. An early feminist claim to equal citizenship was staked by Olympe de
Gouges in her 1791 Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen which adopted the same format as
the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen but elaborated on special rights required by
women.
Read:O. de Gouges, 1791. Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen.
To sum up: civic republicans had an ideal of citizenship in which the character of individual citizens was
very important. A good citizen was active in politics, fought bravely for his country and cared for the
public good more than his private interests.
This ideal contrasted with the liberal view, to be explored below, that citizenship was primarily a legal and
administrative status. Early liberals did also restrict citizenship to men of property, but the reasons for
excluding the poor and women were somewhat different.

5.The Liberal Concept of Citizenship


The rise of liberalism can be dated from the 17th century, but it has been be argued that elements in the
liberal concept of citizenship date from the theory of law developed in the Roman empire from the 1st
century AD. Whereas Aristotle saw the citizen as a political being, who took turns in ruling and being
ruled, under Roman law the citizen was a legal being with rights and obligations under the law. This
distinction is developed by J.G.A. Pocock (1992) in his article 'The Ideal of Citizenship Since Classical
Times'.
Roman lawyers developing legal codes for the empire needed to find some general principles by which
to unite diverse peoples. The Roman jurists inherited from the Stoics (a philosophy influential in Greece
after the decline of the Greek city state and later in Rome) the concept of 'natural law'. Natural law
referred to a set of moral principles which could be understood by all human beings and applies to all
human beings equally. (You will read more about the Stoics and natural law in Study Week 13.) This idea
of natural law was handed down through Roman law and through Christian philosophy and was
developed by liberal theorists like Locke. The early liberals embraced the idea that human beings were
equal and could understand the principles of natural law through the light of inborn reason, but extended
the idea of natural law to embrace a new but logically related idea: natural rights.
A legal concept of citizenship also requires, however, a much more precise legal system upheld by an
ultimate political authority. The Roman concept of citizenship under law depended on the framework of
imperial rule. Liberals in the early modern period found this legal framework and ultimate authority within
the nation state.
The liberal model of citizenship emphasises, as we have seen, enjoyment of rights regarded as crucial
for individual autonomy. These rights were originally seen primarily as civic rights, with increasing
emphasis on political rights. Liberals recognise that citizens have certain obligations, such as obedience
to the law and payment of taxes, which are essential to maintain the state. But they wanted to ensure
that the heavier burdens like taxation should be based on consent. Whilst laws are necessary to maintain
public order, liberals in the 18th and 19th centuries tended to argue for minimising the scope of law and
government, and for maximising the sphere of individual liberty, with a particular emphasis upon
economic liberty.
The right to own and control property was seen as a basic natural right by Locke and was and has
remained central to the liberal tradition. Liberals have often seen respect for property rights as the
touchstone for a general respect for individual life and liberty. There has therefore been a tension
between the formal recognition of individual equality in liberal thought and the emphasis on the rights of
property owners. Locke, for example, assumed that property owners should command the labour of the
poor. A poor man's only property lay in 'the Labour of his body and the Work of his Hands' (Locke 1988:

2878). Early liberals tended to assume that property owners were rational and industrious and that
owning property protected by the law was the most obvious way in which individuals gave their consent
to be citizens of the state. In addition individual property ownership was the basis of the market economy
with which liberalism has been closely linked.
There was therefore in the 17th and 18th centuries a gap between liberals' recognition of men's right to
be equal under the law (to have civil rights) and the fact that only men of property had political rights.
During the 19th century working men struggled to gain the vote and political representation which could
address their economic plight. Adult (white) male suffrage was generally adopted in the USA by the
1830s (subject to precise requirements which were set by individual states). But it took much longer in
Britain where votes for men were extended by stages in 1832 (to all the middle class), 1867 (to most
urban workers) 1884 (to most agricultural workers) and 1918 (when minimal property qualifications were
abolished altogether).
During the 19th century many liberals continued to resist government action which would limit the rights
of property owners, result in any redistribution of wealth or involve state intervention in the economy. But
the disruptive process of industrialisation, the extremes of poverty and appalling living conditions
endured by many workers, as well as the protests of the developing socialist movement, led some liberal
theorists to question the earlier acceptance of the benefits of a free market and to see a case for some
forms of government regulation. By the beginning of the 20th century many liberal theorists and
politicians accepted that socio-economic rights were necessary to give substance to civil and political
rights and create genuine equality of opportunity. But these rights required the state to adopt a wider role
in providing welfare and liberals believing in a limited state and a wholly free market have continued to
oppose this approach.
A well known defence of the new 'social liberalism' was provided by L.T. Hobhouse in his 1911 book
Liberalism, which came out at the time a Liberal Government was introducing a different form of
liberalism in Britain. Hobhouse also provides a good summary as what he sees as the core elements of
liberalism in chapter 2 of Liberalism, which sets out the rights necessary to secure fundamental types of
liberty. In the section on 'economic liberalism' Hobhouse recognises the historic reasons for the
association between liberalism and economic freedom, but notes the new liberal emphasis on industrial
regulation and welfare provision by government, and defends the rights of workers to associate in trade
unions.
It took longer for women to challenge successfully the contradiction between liberal declarations of the
rights of all human beings and women's total lack of both civil and political rights. Women were excluded
from public life and early liberals discussed their rights and responsibilities solely in relation to marriage
and the family. Men had a political role not only as individuals but as heads of families. Even liberals like
Locke, who advocated that women ought be educated, also believed women were only fitted for the
domestic sphere of the family. He thought that women were in general less rational than men, and
therefore less suited to exercising political rights. As early as 1700 in England Mary Astell claimed the
same rights for women that Locke had claimed for men (Mitchell 1984: 64).
If all Men are born free, how is that all Women are born slaves? As they must be if the
being subjected to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary Will of Men, be the
perfect Condition of slaves.
Mary Astell, 1700. Cited in Mitchell (1984: 64).
Mary Astell was only one of a number of women who tried to assert their rights to education and a degree
of independence in the 17th and 18th centuries. Women's citizenship rights were not, however, widely
debated until the second half of the 19th in representative democracies such as the USA and Britain, and
votes for women not achieved until the 20th century. New Zealand and Australia were in the forefront of
granting votes to women. New Zealand did so in 1893 and the new Australian Federation gave the vote
to all white women in 1902 (women in South Australia and Western Australia had achieved the vote
before Federation). Australian feminists, however, argue that this did not mean that women gained
genuine equality, or full civic, political and socio-economic rights.
Some contemporary feminist writers argue that women have still failed to achieve full citizenship
because of the assumptions built into liberal thought which is based on the idea of citizenship as
masculine, and which fails to recognise how women's domestic role prevents their genuine economic and
political equality. Feminists argue that if women are to achieve full citizenship status, they need special
rights. For example, mothers of children may need affordable child care if they are to be free to go out to
work or to be active politically. One claim often made by feminists has been that women need special
rights to control their own reproduction, for example through rights to contraception and abortion.

Read:Carole Pateman, 1992. Citizen male. Australian Left Review 137: 303.
Since the 1960s, women in many western liberal democracies have managed to gain some special rights
which recognise their particular needs as women, for example, the right of easy access to contraception.
Feminists have also campaigned for the right to abortion on the request of the woman, but even in liberal
democratic societies such as the USA and Britain this has remained contentious because of opposition
on religious and sometimes medical grounds. The 1998 campaign to make abortion legal in Western
Australia illustrated how strong feelings are for and against abortion. Rights at work, such as maternity
leave with pay, have also been granted. But, since the 1980s, these rights have come under threat from
a new type of liberalism that stressed individual responsibility and that opposed government intervention
in the economy.

6.Civic Republicanism Today?


The citizens of a representative democracy tend to talk about politics in terms of their individual (liberal)
rights. But if individuals stress their freedom and rights, including the right to take no interest in politics,
they may neglect to do what is politically necessary to maintain an effective representative democracy. At
a minimum, it is essential that most citizens vote and pay taxes. But in the USA under 50 per cent of the
electorate voted in the 1996 Presidential election (turnout for all other elections is much lower) and the
more prosperous (who are more inclined to vote) usually vote to lower taxes further. Moreover,
representative democracies rely on people being concerned about the ills of society and having an
interest in public affairs. In 1830 Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic Democracy in America argued that
the large number of voluntary associations in the USA at that time created a context of social
responsibility which promoted a healthy democracy.
Therefore when many people seem to retreat from all concern with their wider society and politics, some
writers have reasserted the need for community (Etzioni 1993) and others have argued for a sense of
public responsibility and for a revival of civic republican concept of citizenship (Barber 1984). In Australia
the debate about ending links with the British monarchy has encouraged discussion of both constitutional
reform and the wider political and social implications of republicanism (See the 'special issue' of
Australian Journal of Political Science, 1993). Unlike many of the participants in the Australian debate
over republicanism, Phillip Pettit (1993) has addressed the broader notion of republican citizenship.
Revival of interest in civic republicanism in the 20th century has generally returned to the ideal of Athens
rather than Republican Rome and stressed political, rather than military, qualities and obligations. It
stresses political participation and a sense of responsibility. But it does resurrect the idea that citizens
have duties as well as rights, because republicanism depends upon citizens who are socially responsible
and willing to put the public good above private interest. Adrian Oldfield in his book Citizenship and
Community (1990) argues that civic republicanism depends primarily on moral beliefs and ways of
behaving, or what de Tocqueville called 'habits of the heart'. Unless people feel and think like citizens,
opportunities for participation will not create a political community (Oldfield 1990: 172). We can translate
the idea of moral beliefs and manners into Australian terms. Some Australian commentators who have
argued for linking a new republican constitution in Australia to an ethic of civic republicanism, see a basis
in the idea of mateship and belief in 'a fair go'.
The example of Australia highlights, however, some of the major problems in trying to revive the
historical civic republican ideal in contemporary societies. Earlier republicanism assumed a small,
relatively homogeneous and close knit community. Most societies today are large, multicultural and
ideologically diverse. Are there ways of creating citizen responsibility and some sense of a public good
without requiring consensus on all values or identical customs and beliefs? One way to try to achieve this
goal is through civic education by parents and schools. Another way is through giving all students some
training in service to the wider community or society. Instead of military service for one or two years,
young men and women could be required to gain skills and take part in environmental conservation,
educational and social service programs, or in responding to natural disasters (Oldfield 1990: 1667).
Oldfield notes that the civic republican tradition tended to assume that citizens enjoyed approximate
equality of wealth. He comments very briefly on the problems of ensuring genuine political equality when
massive concentrations of economic power impinge on the distribution of political power. He does not
however pursue discussion of whether the civic republican ideal can make sense in a capitalist or free
market economy, in particular in its late 20th century forms.

One possible compromise between civic republicanism and liberalism is provided by the concepts of civil
society and associational democracy, which recognise both the diversity of society today and the
arguments for strengthening civic responsibility and promoting some sense of community. You will be
studying these ideas in a specifically Australian context in Study Week 8. But before examining different
approaches to democracy in depth you will, in the next two weeks, gain a greater understanding of the
history of citizenship and democracy in Australia.
Review for Week 2
Before proceeding, you ought to review your understanding of this week's topic by:
(a) checking your responses to the Study Exercises against those supplied in the
Study Guide, and
(b) reading again the documents for this week and completing the related Study Tasks
in the Workbook, for which there are no answers provided.

References
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Australia's Republican Question. 1993. Australian Journal of Political Science 28. Special Issue.
Barber, B. 1984. Strong Democracy. Berkely, CA: University of California Press.
Burke, Edmund. 1774. Speech to the electors of Bristol. In D. Ravitch and A. Thernstrom eds. 1992. The
Democracy Reader. New York: Harper Collins, pp. 5051.
Burnheim, J. 1985. Is Democracy Possible? The Alternative to Electoral Politics. Cambridge: Polity
Press.
Crick, B. ed. 1974. Machiavelli: The Discourses. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
de Gouges, Olympe. 1791. Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen.
Etzioni, A. 1993. The Spirit of Community. New York: Simon and Schuster
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eds. 1992. The Democracy Reader. New York: Harper Collins, pp. 1247.
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Oldfield, A. 1990. Citizenship and Community: Civic Republicanism and the Modern World. London:
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Pateman, C. 1992. Citizen male. Australian Left Review 137: 303.
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