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Title: Civic Responsibility in the Face of Injustice
Author: Pasternak, Avia
ISNI:       0000 0000 4544 9769
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores the ways in which citizens of democratic states are responsible for injustices perpetrated by their governments. The attribution of collective responsibility to citizens is common both in theory and practice. Yet there is relatively little thinking about its nature, scope and sources. The thesis develops in three parts. Part 1 identifies three types of responsibility which are relevant to governmental injustices. These are moral responsibility, liability, and counteractive responsibility (namely the responsibility to put an end to an ongoing injustice). It examines the attribution of each type of responsibility to individuals and to groups; and the ways in which the collective responsibilities of groups should be distributed amongst their members. An important distinction is drawn between an equal distribution of collective responsibility, which apportions an equal share to each group member; and a differential distribution, which apportions responsibility in light of group members' contributions to and benefits from collective harms. Part 2 applies these theoretical observations to the case of liberal democracies. It first considers the responsibilities of democratic publics as collective units. It explores the extent to which publics bear collective moral and consequential responsibilities for governmental policies. Such policies are often designed and carried out by relatively autonomous representative governments. The analysis is therefore supported by an account of the different meanings of political representation, and the responsibilities that they involve. The thesis then explores the ways in which the collective responsibilities of the public are to be shared amongst citizens. My core argument is that civic moral responsibility should be attributed in light of citizens' personal behaviour. But, liability and counteractive responsibility can be apportioned equally amongst citizens. The justification concerns the associative obligations of citizens in liberal democracies. The last part draws upon these conclusions in order to assess the legitimacy and necessity of international economic sanctions against 'unjust liberal democracies'. It argues that liberal democracies form amongst themselves a transnational community, and that consequently they have both the right and the obligation to monitor each other's behaviour, and to impose economic sanctions on liberal democracies that violate core democratic norms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available