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LL.M Public Law and Democracy | Theories of democracy


Centre Assas salle 707


2023-2024 | Semestre 2


How should democratic societies deal with identity groups? For some, identity politics is a threat to democracy. To be identified as a member of a group, whether defined in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or social status, is to be denied the kind of individuality associated with one's own character, as well as the ability to freely choose one's allegiances. In other words, identity groups alienate rather than liberate people. They separate them rather than bring them together as members of the same community. For others, identity groups are not detrimental to freedom, individuality or social justice, but are the very basis from which their meaning is drawn and the source on which we can draw when we wish to promote and protect them. Identity groups come in many forms. The suggestion that they should be recognised and accommodated both politically and legally is often highly controversial. In this seminar we will examine some of these controversies, discuss the normative principles involved, and attempt to assess their significance from a political and ethical perspective.


Digital bookshelf

Feb. 2nd (1pm-3pm): Introduction

Feb. 8th (11.30am-1.30pm): Nation-States and cultural diversity

- Dominique Schnapper, Community of Citizens, introduction and conclusion

- Jürgen Habermas, Postnational Constellation, chap. 4

Feb. 9th (1pm-3pm): Cultural diversity in democracies

- Ernest Gellner, Culture, Identity and Politics, chap. 2

- Ülrich Beck, What is Globalization? Introduction

- Christian Joppke (1998), Why Liberal States Accept Unwanted Immigration

Feb. 13th (2pm-4pm): The Dynamics of democratic equality

- Robert Legros (1990), L’Idée d’humanité, “Le Romantisme et l’humanité comme appartenance à la naturalization”

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), On Social Contract, Book II

- Alexis de Tocqueville (1856), The Ancien Régime and the Revolution, Book 1, chap. 3-5.

Feb. 16th (1pm-3pm): Against identity politics : historical roots

- Pierre Rosanvallon (2004), The Demands of Liberty, part 1.

- John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government, chap. XVI

- Friedrich Engels, “The Magyar Struggle” (January 1849) in Marx and Engel, collected works, pp. 227 sq.

- Ernest Renan, What is a Nation?

March 1st (1pm-3pm): The Ethics of Recognition (1)

- Charles Taylor (1990) Politics of Recognition

- Axel Honneth (1992), The Struggle for recognition, pp. 92-139

March 8th (1pm-3pm): The Ethics of Recognition (2)

- Iris Marion Young (1990), Justice and the Politics of difference, chap. 6

- Carole Pateman (1980), Women and consent

March 14 th (2pm-4pm): The Ethics of Recognition (3)

- Anne Phillips (1993), Democracy and difference, pp. 1-138

March 15th (1pm-3pm): Against Identity Politics : Contemporary issues

- Yasha Mounk (2023), The Identity Trap

- Susan Moller Okin (1999) Is Multiculturalism bad for women?

March 22nd (1pm-3pm): Nationalism and liberalism

- Yael (Yuli) Tamir (2019), Why Nationalism, part IV

- David Miller (1997), On Nationality

March 29th (1pm-3pm): Liberal multiculturalism

- Avigail Eisenger (2009), Reasons of identities, pp. 1-42

- Will Kymlicka (1995),  Multicultural Citizenship, chap. 6 and chap. 8.

- Will Kymlicka (2021), “The Ethics of Membership in multicultural societies”

- Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Odysseys. Navigating the International Politics of Diversity, part I

April 12th (1pm-3pm): Conclusion

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