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Title: Resilient civic republicanism
Author: Mace, William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 5865
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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Advanced liberal democracies today can be conceptualised ontologically as complex dynamic systems, characterised by increasing interconnectedness and interdependence. Neoliberal globalisation has been a key driving force behind this systemic evolution. This thesis claims that emerging global trends, such as climate change, illustrate the flaws in the dominant political philosophy of procedural liberalism. Freedom, understood as non-interference within this model, has permitted social fragmentation, atomisation and degradation of socio-political institutions. As a result, the latter are argued to rely on top-down impositions of the common good to facilitate adaption to new socio-political challenges, which undermine democracy. This calls for a need to find a political philosophy that can foster adaption to new circumstances, whilst maximising the democratic empowerment of individuals in the Western world. This thesis constructs a unique civic republican model based upon a revision of the scholarship of Michael Sandel, termed resilient civic republicanism (RCR). It contends that this is an appropriate political philosophy for the 21st century, in virtue of its capacity to underpin a resilient democratic socio-political institutional model in the face of contemporary challenges. This is due to being based on an alternative conception of liberty, freedom as self-government, which reinforces principles such as public deliberation, civic virtue, civic spaces, and federalism. These are subsequently argued to foster the self-reflection and adaption that resilience demands. By facilitating the acknowledgement of mutual self-realisation and collective responsibility, in that today one’s self-realisation is dependent on others, RCR can reconcile the imposition of new obligations (deemed necessary to attend to systemic challenges) with individual empowerment. Hence the claim that RCR would not result in socio-political institutions being corrupted by contemporary developments. The thesis therefore maintains that RCR can preserve liberty, and accommodate new constraints being imposed by emergent social and political changes within a democratic institutional model, in contradistinction to procedural liberalism.
Supervisor: Masquelier, Charles ; Holland, Jack ; Usherwood, Simon Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral