Citizenship, Political Competence and Civic Studies: The Ostromian Perspective
Civic Studies (Civic Monograph Series), Peter Levine and Karol Soltan, eds., Forthcoming
18 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 30, 2013
The Ostroms’ vision of governance and normative political economy is strongly anchored in a well-articulated theory of civic competence and a well-defined view of citizenship and civic behavior. Yet, very few have noticed that once the themes of political competence and citizenship get introduced into the picture, the perspective on the Ostroms’ work gains instantly an entirely new dimension. It is hence a great loss that their contribution to civic studies – seen both as a conceptual reflection and an input to governance processes- is less discussed, although it occupies in the end such an essential position in their system. This chapter will be an attempt to focus on this issue. The chapter will start with the more visible and relatively better known views of the Ostroms regarding citizenship and civic and political competence. Then it will focus on the less known and less understood dimension that pertains to a deeper and more profound level of their perspective: a possibilist epistemology and ontology of social order and change in which citizenship (and civic studies) (may) play a decisive role. In combination, the two parts will show why the Ostroms’ interest in civic studies should not be seen as a mere footnote or marginal extension of their main work but as part and parcel of their core message.
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