Liberalism and Societal Integration: In Defence of Reciprocity and Constructive Pluralism
(2014) 43:2 Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy 127-39
15 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 10, 2015
Because contemporary polities define themselves as nation-states, the right to participate effectively in the common regulation of the public affairs on equal and fair terms and to have an equal right to the enjoyment of the goods of the commonwealth does not extend to all contributors. The prevailing nationality model of citizenship ensures that official partners in the collective endeavour are only the nationals and those who are willing to ‘integrate’ into the society and to become like nationals via naturalisation. In this article, I reflect on this institutional deficit by critically examining the notion of societal integration and, more particularly, by taking issue with integration tests as prerequisites to naturalisation. I argue that democratic imaginations and institutionalised ways of living together could benefit from calling into question national reciprocity. My argument for its replacement with comprehensive reciprocity and the transformation of the latter into an organising principle of political life in liberal democracies is contained in the final section of the article.
Keywords: politics, nation-state, participation, nationality, naturalisation, comprehensive reciprocity
JEL Classification: K00, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation