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Title: A hermeneutic defence of social citizenship
Author: Fives, Allyn
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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The aim of this thesis is to defend T.H. Marshall’s conception of social citizenship. I argue that it can be defended both against the New Rights’ rejection of social democracy and against the Third Way re-formulation of social democracy, by Anthony Giddens and others, which rejects the goal of social equality. My defence of social citizenship is conducted at the level of meta-theoretical argument concerning the nature of justification. More specifically, I make use of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics, which I argue is a conservative meta-theory and which I distinguish from enlightenment and radical meta-theories. For Gadamer, the rational capacity required for justification presupposes a shared tradition which it actively establishes through mutual learning. I distinguish this from Jurgen Habermas’ and Martha Nussbaum’s enlightenment positions, where rational capacity is prior to practice, and from Michel Foucult’s radical position, where rational capacity is established through subjugation and resistance. Marshal argues that this proposals for social equality are justified from within the tradition of citizenship and must therefore be revised in new situations. I argue that the meta-theoretical position assumed here in Marshall’s social citizenship corresponds to hermeneutics. I also argue that the revision Marshall calls for can be justified as a hermeneutic reformulation of social citizenship. It must be pursued as a process of mutual learning so as to establish social equality in relations of mutual learning. Further, I argue that in the reformulation of social citizenship hermeneutics can be revised so as to account for the necessity of social equality for rational capacity. I argue that conceptions of citizenship must proceed from assumptions concerning the nature of justification. However, it is through enabling the rational capacity of citizens that these meta-theoretical assumptions will be fully realised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available